Daring Greatly: Talking about shame is inevitable if we want to change

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown message is simple: We use other people's shame to protect ourselves from shame. A vicious circle that starts as early as kindergarten and becomes part of our everyday behaviour. It is so powerful that we build armory around our personalities that change who we are and limit what we could become.

Watch her TEDx talk for an introduction to her topic. But I recommend you to read this book, too. It is highly readable and provides important insights backed by years of research and thousands of interviews.

The message is clear: we need to embrace shame and put ourselves out there. We will be criticized, we will fail, we will struggle but if we don't we are missing out.

In times where big corporations are shifting they way the operate towards an open and transparent culture this book is especially important. Giving employees the power to decide on their own when, how and on what they will work also shifts the responsibility for their actions from their former bosses towards them. More and more will they make their daily work public and open for scrutiny. But for decades we have learned and perfected the finger-pointing game. If organizations fail to understand that the change not only requires new ways to organize work but also requires everyone to develop new communication skills and empathy, change will fail.

A remarkable quote from the book is this one from Kevin Surace, Inc.com's Entrepreneur of the Year 2009. Below is a verbatim copy from this article in fastcompany.com which is freely available:

Brené asked him: What's the most significant barrier to creativity and innovation?

I don't know if it has a name, but honestly, it's the fear of introducing an idea and being ridiculed, laughed at, and belittled. If you're willing to subject yourself to that experience, and if you survive it, then it becomes the fear of failure and the fear of being wrong. People believe they're only as good as their ideas and that their ideas can't seem too ‘out there' and they can't ‘not know' everything. The problem is that innovative ideas often sound crazy and failure and learning are part of revolution. Evolution and incremental change is important and we need it, but we're desperate for real revolution and that requires a different type of courage and creativity.

I can recommend this book to everyone who is trying to change how people behave in organizations. But this book will not only help you with your work but also help you understand your own behaviour better.