Trust and vulnerability in the business world

People often think of the corporate world in terms of cut throat competition: where businesses are competing for any advantage they can get. In this environment, we dare not share too much with one another for fear a rival will steal ideas and beat us at our own game.

This breeds distrust between people. At TSG, we think this way of being is completely unworkable. Now, we acknowledge that there are trade secrets and that it’s unfeasible to expect everyone to become buddy-buddy overnight. However, we think there’s a better way of doing things.

While the business world brings out our competitiveness, human relationships also have a co-operative side that we wish to emphasize. It’s easy to eye everyone suspiciously and treat them as rivals. At the same time, you can use some friendly connections.

One way to make friends is to let your guard down and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It’s as simple as sharing a struggle or challenge you have without humble-bragging and no ulterior motives. Share because you want to connect and before you know it, the people around you will open up as well.

The best part is that sharing becomes easier the more you do it. With practice, you’ll eventually be able to relax and get closer to others.

If it feels awkward or embarrassing, remember that most people are dealing with similar challenges. The aim is to create that “me too!” moment when you realize you’re not alone.

Moreover, most businesses are not your direct competitors so there’s often no point in withholding ideas and information from them. Unless you’re absolutely sure they’ll steal it or use it to get a leg up on you, share the love. Giving to others doesn’t make you weaker or poorer – it makes you stronger.

Besides, chances are that if you’re speaking with someone, they’re not that awful. We really doubt you would be on speaking terms with someone genuinely predatory.

This way you’re thinking of the bigger picture where you’re looking out for the people in your network. For example, pitching an idea to someone may well aid their business and create more value for their customers.

Perhaps it even triggers far-reaching transformative change for them. They will begin to shift their way of being to better match the bigger game you’re playing and end up playing a bigger game themselves. So don’t share just for your sake; do it for the sake of helping and benefiting other people.

Share this post with someone in your network who would benefit from it.