Might vulnerability help you crack the code to deeper engagement?

Anne Hargrave

A non-family CEO remarked recently that his level of connection with G2 and G3 family enterprise owners had “vastly improved because (he) decided to be vulnerable.”  

He had always stuck to the task at hand in discussions with family members in their one-on-one meetings but felt something significant was missing.  There was a resistance to open, authentic conversation which he suspected would be essential in order to have important, and distinctly different, conversations needed with each owner.  

The CEO, with encouragement and guidance from a coach, looked for ways to connect with each family member – ways that he could say “me too” and share difficult experiences. Over time, he came to know their hopes, dreams and fears and found that being authentic wasn’t as hard as he had anticipated.  

As he connected more deeply with each person, he gained insights on how to broach difficult conversations around their interaction with the family enterprise. 

Research has shown that embracing our own vulnerabilities helps us be more open and accepting of others. Dr. Brené Brown, a University of Houston researcher, contends that “our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity.  Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we are all in this together.”  From: I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power”

When family enterprise executives and owners connect with each other authentically, they are able to develop deeper, meaningful and independent relationships, laying a platform for thoughtful decision-making. 

What change might you create by being more authentic with those around you?  


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