Successful and innovative organisations aren’t possible if their people don’t feel secure to innovate - and not only succeed, but be allowed to fail. That requires a concept called psychological safety, which is in short supply in these uncertain times.
As the author of the book
that put workplace psychological safety on the map, Harvard professor, Amy Edmondson
, has been thinking a lot about this lately. What she’s discovered, as she tells Clay Parker Jones
, who leads R/GA’s Org Innovation practice, is that companies must create more psychological safety and intellectual bravery not only despite the pandemic but because of it.
More than ever, as discussed on the podcast, organisations need to empower and inspire virtual teams to tackle what’s changing, what’s needed now, and what’s next. That entails creating a learning culture and setting up people as individuals and as teams for success and failure. That includes creating safe spaces and trusting that they want to innovate and figure out better ways to do things - a commitment to 'welcoming intelligent failure', as Amy puts it.
“We live in this virtual world and things have never changed faster, been more dynamic, or more uncertain,” said Amy
. "But we can’t hunker down until the storm blows over, or become risk-averse. During this pandemic, we're all really living it and feeling it, I think, more acutely than before. And so my question to leaders and individual contributors everywhere is—what if you really took [uncertainty] seriously?”
Honouring the uncertainty that surrounds us makes any one person’s voice mission-critical, which also makes ensuring psychological safety essential within organisations. The new imperative for businesses, as Jones notes, is to identify 'the practical things that I can do with my team or with my leadership group… to start making a transformation of my culture'.
R/GA’s Org Innovation (OI) practice decodes and re-codes its clients’ organisations to reinvent in service of humanity and growth. It operates on four designable factors - culture, orientation, distribution, and enablers—that together capture an organisation’s / CODE. After working with R/GA OI, clients can expect faster achievement of business outcomes, deeper employee engagement, improved change-readiness, and more human connection to customers.