Recently I was listening to Dr. Amy Edmondson talking about the importance of psychological safety in the workplace. If you haven’t heard of Dr. Edmondson, you are missing out. She has done a considerable amount of research as to why some teams flourish and others just struggle. Her research points to the necessity for every organization to make psychological safety a high priority if they want to be successful. Pair this with McKinsey Global Institute’s research which shows that organizations that address persuasive mindsets are 400% more likely to succeed than organizations that overlook this stage. This research dates from 2017. I assert that today this is an even greater need. Here is why.
In her research, Dr. Edmondson notes that more than any time in history we live in a knowledge economy. Even organizations with a more traditional industrial focus are finding that it’s not as much what can be done, but the problems that can be solved while “doing”. For a knowledge economy to work we MUST cultivate robust exchanges where the real issues are dissected and solved. Creating environments where we foster workplace psychological safety opens the door for these robust exchanges. The worst thing that can happen in a knowledge economy is for individuals to not share the thoughts, ideas, or concerns that they might have. Liken it to a jigsaw puzzle when some hold back their pieces.
Even more so, when doing business in an environment where we are experiencing a labor shortage, we must foster environments that help us to retain staff. No one wants to arbitrarily spend the time and resources to replace staff in today’s environment. No matter what the organization’s size, it becomes even more important to cultivate psychological safety or mindset change within our teams in order to retain and develop our most invaluable asset – our people.
Some of the ways we encourage the development of psychological safety is by following a simple formula in our training: see people, adjust effort, and measure our impact. Sounds simple, right? In reality, psychological safety is about letting someone hold up a mirror for us and not waiting for others to change. At PrairieFire Consulting we are the compassionate coach that holds the mirror to help leaders mobilize themselves and their teams to achieve their collective goals. We work with people who are ready to take responsibility for their future but need a coach to help along the way.
Today, more than ever, we must cross barriers to work more effectively together. Organizations rise or fall on the ability to solve problems in a growing knowledge economy. In many ways this is an exciting time to be leading an organization or a team. Let us take the step together in making an impact on tomorrow.