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Lay Ups, Loops, & Leaders

“Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.”

-Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code

The middle of March means it is officially time for March Madness, a time that energizes fanbases and turns players making layups into legends. In college basketball, some of the biggest stars are the coaches, as their skill at building both teams and a winning culture have made them household names.

What are the traits that make coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, & Bill Self successful? How do we explain the sudden rise of the “Cinderella” teams each year? And what can we learn from them that can be applied to our lives and workplaces?

In my last post I talked about the importance of providing recognition and am grateful for the additional submissions to my “Rules for Recognition”. Please feel free to click the link to download the complete list of rules, and send me a note to tell me how you are using them at home or in your workplace.

One of the submissions provided the inspiration for this email, and it is as follows:

“Allow yourself, as the giver of recognition, to be truly authentic. This can sometimes make us feel vulnerable, when expressing our feelings, but this will make the moment so much more empowering for the giver and receiver. Don’t be afraid of expressing your gratitude freely and honestly.

When the action of providing recognition is also an act of vulnerability, the interaction transforms into something more powerful and provides us a good place to start analyzing successful groups or teams. In his book “The Culture Code”, Daniel Coyle talks at length about an interaction termed a Vulnerability Loop, which is “a shared exchange of openness (and) the most basic building block of cooperation and trust”.

In practice, a Vulnerability Loop follows the same 5 steps:

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]Person A send a signal of vulnerability

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]Person B detects the signal

[if !supportLists]3. [endif]Person B responds by signaling their own vulnerability

[if !supportLists]4. [endif]Person A detects the signal

[if !supportLists]5. [endif]A norm is established; closeness and trust increase

If vulnerability can lead to trust, what can this trust lead to? The teams competing in March Madness share a sense of purpose, common goals, and standards. They also shared a special bond that can only be forged through the Vulnerability Loop. Could the groups you belong to (family, work, etc.) benefit from enhanced levels of vulnerability and trust?

We will examine how to use the trust you create to build even higher performing teams in my next post on March 26th. Until then, best of luck to your favorite team this March!

Forever in the Vulnerability Loop,

Jason Boaz, PGA

PGA Certified Golf Professional

PGA Career Consultant

Illinois and Wisconsin Sections of the PGA of America


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