As a songwriter, vulnerability has been my stock-in-trade for the past thirty years. Plumbing my emotional depths to write a song that is both moving to me but and those who listen to it is critical to achieving my goal of connecting to others through my music. So you can imagine my surprise – when I began teaching business teams to write songs – to the resistance the typical corporate executive displays to making themselves vulnerable in a work setting. I thought I’d take a moment to list a few simple reasons why vulnerability – like creativity – is just as essential for business as it is for writing songs.
You get to what’s real
If your guard is constantly up while you’re at work, it will be almost impossible to get to the heart of any discussion or project. It is only though taking the risk of making your true feelings known that you’ll make any progress toward the deeper understanding that is the hallmark of truly resonant results. On top of that, vulnerability – in an environment where it’s encouraged and well-received is be both freeing and exhilarating.
It helps you connect with each other
Teams can be sources of genuine power and productivity within an organization. That being said, a team doesn’t function well together just because they’ve been put together. It is only through the willing vulnerability of making the individual members of the team known to each other genuine bonds are built and real progress is made.
It helps your products and services connect with the wider world
The creation of products and services that are designed to fill – or anticipate – a need in the marketplace is equally dependent on vulnerability. Without the courage to express how a given product or process truly makes you feel, there is a high likelihood that they won’t make a true connection with their market. Whether consumers or businesses can articulate it or not, vulnerability (aka sincerity) can be felt on a fundamentally human level and its absence will leave your intended audience cold.
Let me be clear. There is a time and place for vulnerability. Going around with your heart constantly on your sleeve will be exhausting not only for you but also for your colleagues.
For example, my favorite expression to describe songwriters is “emotional nudists” and, as you might imagine, that isn’t always appropriate. However, thoughtful and deliberate vulnerability in the context of teams, decision-making and innovation will pay greater dividends than you could ever imagine.
Find out more about Cliff’s creativity & innovation workshops for business teams.