According to Gallup, only 1 in 5 employees believes their opinion seem to count at work, and less than 1 in 10 reports having the freedom to take risks to improve products and services. These numbers might have been reasonable in a 1922 poll, but in 2022 they're downright candalous. Today’s employees are skilled, not illiterate; competitive advantage is the product of innovation, not just scale; communication is instantaneous rather than tortuous; and the pace of change is hypersonic, not glacial. Yet organizations still operate with management systems that often reflect a deep mistrust of employee commitment and competence. The result: a workplace that is less resilient, creative, and engaging that it can (and needs) to be.
Mistrust demoralizes, fear paralyzes. Question is, how to we wring these out of our organizations? There's no better person to answer this than Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School and the world's leading expert on psychological safety and collaboration at work. We recently sat down with Amy to discuss how to build a high-trust, low-fear culture: one that encourages the free expression of contentious opinions, open information sharing, and prudent risk taking.
Here are some of the topics we covered:
- Why does psychological safety matter, and why does it remain so rare
- Rolling back the "epidemic of silence" in organizations
- The power of "top-down, bottom up" approaches to building psychological safety
- Redefining what it means to be a leader
- Rethinking management education and B-Schools
- Measuring the costs of a fear-based culture
- Amy's advice to CEOs: tell the truth!
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