In the business world, is "vulnerability" an asset or a weakness?

In the business world, the term vulnerability refers to either of the following:

  • Personal/Soft skills that enable conversations that matter to happen to build trust
  • Business Risk

Personal/Soft skills

When used to better understand and connect with others, vulnerability can be an asset in the business world. It is an element that helps us:

  • Build relationships that matter (with our teams, with our partners, with our customers),
  • Have conversations that matter.
  • Generate successful outcomes.

For example, vulnerability can show your true self or showcase honesty when you open up about something you would not usually share.

Component  Factors applied across our interactions 
  • Open
  • Honest
  • Transparent
  • Responsive
  • Consistent
  • Recognisable tone
  • Expert in your field
  • Recognised by other experts

When people feel like they can trust someone, they are more likely to consume solutions and ask for help from that person or organisation.

Business Risk

In terms of business risk, a vulnerability is a weakness that gives others the chance to impact or exploit you negatively. Alternatively, a vulnerability needs to be seen in terms of the risk that can:

  • Slow down your ability to advance your purpose.
  • Disrupt your ability to deliver value to your target audience.

For you as a business leader, this represents the range of weaknesses that need to be identified, profiled, assessed and determined on whether you want to address/de-risk.

These vulnerabilities need to be assessed across your various key organisational assets, identifying what can limit each asset from operating, advancing, or providing continued service to the levels/objectives your board/leadership/culture expects.

A report from the World Economic Forum, 2021 showcases the following areas as potential sources of vulnerabilities that cause worry (technical/other):

Let us know what you think!. We believe in productive discourse and welcome opportunities to refine our understanding through discussion. Comment in the comments area below or reach out on hi@andremuscat.com


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