- And Safety
But not just safety in terms of physical safety. I am speaking of safety in terms of psychological safety. Psychological safety is when members of a team within an organization feel safe to share new ideas, take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other. Why is this important? When employees feel psychologically safe innovation is the result.
Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson, coined the term psychological safety after an extensive study with Google which she talks about in her book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth. Edmonson defines psychological safety as:
“…a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”
When there is trust within an organization and between peers, the knowledge that no one will be shamed for putting themselves out there and taking risks results in employees feeling more comfortable to be themselves, to be more creative and take more risks.
“It is not about being nice,” Edmondson is quoted saying in Harvard Business Review. “It’s about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes, and learning from each other.”
In turn, people are not afraid to make a mistake which results in more innovative ideas. This is in exact alignment with what Eyal Shahar has been saying all along – innovation flourishes where fear is not.
When you remove fear, trust is not only built, a culture of love grows and, as a result, innovation is fostered, nurtured, and refined.
An interesting thing happens in an individual who works in a place where they trust each other, and their organization, enough to not be afraid to make a mistake. Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the cuddle hormone is released within individuals. Oxytocin influences social behavior and bonding in relationships. When you feel connected and know at your core that you belong, you also know that you are accepted even if your ideas did not quite turn out as expected.
In alignment with this idea about trust, Edmondson and Google’s study revealed that teams which made more mistakes were more successful than their counterparts. Not only are they more successful, employees are more engaged and report an overall sense of well-being. This in turn leads to better performance and higher employee retention rates. In other words, people like their jobs.
“Trust is the highest form of human motivation,” says author and educator Stephen Covey. “It brings out the very best in people.” The cool thing is that trust is created intentionally every day by being honest, keeping promises, walking the talk, living by our core values, looking out for each other, and creating a psychologically safe environment, a goal OTA is intentional about every day as we all work together to make a difference and enrich lives worldwide.