DTBC Day 0: Be vulnerable

7-10-2013 12-03-06 AM

Today was a great start to the Design Thinking Boot Camp (DTBC). I was surprised by the importance of being vulnerable. I’ve called this day 0 because today was just for coaches and apprentices.

Tomorrow DTBC begins with about 70 participants. We will be working on a design challenge for JetBlue that centers around improving the ground experience for passengers at SFO. One of the first things we do is actually go to SFO and interview people there.

We were asked to write down the one thing that we wanted to impart to our teams when we are doing empathy work at SFO tomorrow.

Anna-Love Mickelson‘s (who has inspired another blog post) 1 thing was to push her team to be vulnerable with the people they interview – because, if they are vulnerable as an interviewer, they are more likely to get stories and emotions from the people they interview.

I thought this was an awesome point to keep in mind, but not just for DTBC, but for life.

In the business world, many successful people have gotten to where they are by being assertive, powerful, confident, etc. The idea of being weak is laughable to them.

But to be an emphatic  leader, you have to take some emotional risk. Being vulnerable means that you could be hurt. Humility is a required character trait. Weakness are strengths. Losing is winning. Being last is being first. Discomfort is comfort.

But in that risk, there is great reward. By opening up, you get to see who people really are at the core and have the potential to help meet deeper needs.

So I am adopting Anna’s goal of pushing my team to be vulnerable with each other, with the people we meet tomorrow at SFO, and more importantly, with people in their lives and organizations once DTBC is over.


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