Internationally renowned researcher Brene Brown says business leaders should allow themselves to be vulnerable so they are open to their co-workers and new ideas.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Bank’s Wired for Wonder event in Sydney today, Brown said Australia was like her native Texas in viewing vulnerability as weakness.
She challenged the notion, listing 6 major moments in people’s lives as examples:
1. Vulnerability is sitting with my wife who has stage 4 breast cancer and making plans for our young children.
2. Vulnerability is saying ‘I love you’ first.
3. Vulnerability is the first date after my divorce.
4. Vulnerability is taking my business public.
5. Vulnerability is getting laid off.
6. Vulnerability is trying something new at work and failing.
“Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage,” she said.
“I spent the entire of last year at Fortune 500 companies talking about vulnerability for this simple reason: vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation and creativity.
“In cultures where failure is not an option, neither is innovation.”
Earlier this year, Commonwealth Bank tech chief Michael Harte blamed the finance industry’s risk-aversion for holding back innovation and said it had taken 7 years to build an “innovation-friendly” culture at CBA.
According to Brown, the some of the most innovative organisations had “failure festivals” in which leaders could stand up and talk about their mistakes, not to be punished for them, but to share lessons learned.
“Innovation is about fail fast, clean it up, learn from it, move on,” she said.
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