In a recent collaborative session with a colleague, I was introduced to Brené Brown. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Over six years ago she began to study “shame” and ended up uncovering the importance of “vulnerability.” Ms. Brown says that shame is the fear of disconnection, resulting in excruciating pain and marked by self-talk such as “I’m not (good) enough” or memories of “who do you think you are?”

She has translated her work into organization life with speaking engagements and collaborations with leadership and  creative groups.

The relevance to my work with teams (let alone my life) is the challenge of collaboration. When we feel vulnerable we are likely to protect ourselves and far less likely to show the courage to be authentic or to think “outside of the box.” How many times have you sensed that not all the thinking was on the table for an important decision?

The question I am considering is how do we collaborate without fear in our time-pressurized, high-risk world?

Since I couldn’t possibly share Ms. Brown’s work fully in this post, I will leave you with her 2012 TedTalk.

If you can’t see the video, you can find it on here website at, along with her books.

This week, simply observe yourself to note where you could have been more vulnerable and why you weren’t.