An article in Bloomberg Businessweek reviewed the pros of showing vulnerability

| September 2, 2016

Make Up Assignment:

Is it Good or Bad to Show Vulnerability?

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek reviewed the pros of showing vulnerability (i.e., discussing one’s weaknesses or limitations) when advertising products and services and when trying to create more effective teams. Patrick Lencioni proposed that organizations and individuals create positive perceptions when they admit vulnerabilities, as long as companies and individuals mean it. “Vulnerability is often seen as weakness; it’s actually a sign of strength. People who are genuinely open and transparent prove that they have confidence and self-esteem to allow others to see them as they really are, warts and all. There’s something undeniably magnetic about people who can do that,” according to Lencioni.

Lencioni also believes that showing vulnerability with your co-workers can help build teamwork. “When teammates feel free to admit mistakes, ask for help, and acknowledge their own weaknesses, they reduce divisive politics and build a bond of trust more valuable than almost any strategic advantage,” says Lencioni. He used examples of Domino’s Pizza and the Chicago Bears football team to support his position. A Domino’s Pizza ad “opens with customers describing Domino’s Pizza using words like ketchup and cardboard. Then, Domino’s President J. Patrick Doyle matter-of-factly explains the importance of acknowledging how customers see his pizza. Finally he outlines the company’s response: 40% more herbs in its sauce, better cheese, a special glaze on the crust.” Similarly, the Chicago Bears “capped off a miserable season by buying a full-page ad admitting to a subpar attempt at professional football and thanking fans for their support in spite of the team’s mediocrity.”

(Note: Quotations excerpted from P. Lencioni, “The Power of Saying ‘We Blew it.’” Bloomberg Businessweek, February 22, 2010, p. 84)


1. What are the characteristics of a “good” pizza in your schema (mental picture of an event or object)? Do they contain “tastes like cardboard?”

2. Do you think that Domino’s Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle demonstrated leadership qualities by being vulnerable? Explain.

3. What attribution (suspected or inferred causes of behavior) would you make about a sporting team that loses most games and then apologizes in an ad? Are these causes internal (personal characteristics that cause behavior) or external (external characteristics that cause behavior)? Be specific and detailed in your answer.

Your paper should be at least two pages long, double-spaced, 1” margins throughout. At the top of your paper, type your name and title “Is it Good or Bad to Show Vulnerability?” Please separate your paper into three sections following the questions in the instructions section (i.e., Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3). Feel free to use subheadings if it helps to organize your work.

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