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Be Vulnerable. Be Confident.

Submitted by on March 18, 2010 – 4:32 pm2 Comments

I am coming to believe that the most successful posture in business is best described as “Confident Vulnerability.” In most organizations we are terrified of saying something stupid, something that doesn’t make sense or of looking like we don’t know where we are headed with an idea.   But in order to get anywhere new you need to accept getting lost sometimes – you need to risk the stupid comment.  How do you manage the tension?  Screw the former and embrace the latter.

Perhaps the only substantive difference between a strategist and anyone else in the room is that we open our mouths first.   The more experience and modest success I have in business the more that experience reinforces this singular lesson. Be confident.  Make yourself vulnerable.   You will be well rewarded by doing so.

2 Comments »

  • Chris Meyer says:

    Fortune's recent article on the value of military leadership experience in business had a quote from Donovan Campbell, a former platoon leader in Iraq, now in sales at Frito-Lay

    “”Combat experience was very humbling, because mistakes happen. In school you're rewarded for not making mistakes. And then you get out and get a job, and a lot of times you get promoted because you make very few mistakes. And so what you do is you develop a mindset that mistakes are to be avoided at all costs. What you learn in the military is that it doesn't matter how hard you try or how good you are. One, you will make mistakes; and two, sometimes events or the enemy or a changing situation will mean that you do not succeed, and in fact you fail. And you become comfortable with the idea of, I do not have to have zero defects to be successful.”

  • joshuamross says:

    I love that comment Chris… Not to say that my area of work is like combat – but I do think that the rapidity of change within “digital”, and the lack of fixed best practices means that there is a reward for being willing to take risks – both in planning and execution. J.

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