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From Panic to Peace

You might have heard by now that research shows many bosses think their company is a better place to work than it actually is. You probably don’t need research to tell you this, either--it’s something we can all observe. And in some cases the boss doesn’t really mind--he, she, or they are there to make some money and ship some product. But many, many bosses--perhaps more than meet the eye--are mortified to hear that they haven’t created the business panacea they had intended to when founding their venture. Or, put another way, it’s not so much that CEOs expect their company to be perfect as they do expect that their company will absolutely, never cause harm.

In a few parts, let’s explore the elements of a healthy business… A journey in stages…

Psychological Safety

Part one--What it “is”

When people feel like they are encouraged to—and actually do—speak up when they have ideas, perspectives, and reactions that are different from what’s already been established. Specifically, this is sometimes called an environment of constructive critique or loving pushback in service of improvement

Why it’s required

Business competitiveness requires ongoing innovation (another way of saying brand relevance over time and circumstance) and organizational health requires individuals to experience the generosity of brilliance. Whether conscious or not, people usually withhold their best when they experience shut down and offer their best when they experience deep receptivity.

What it “does”

When a human system--company, organization, family, school, etc—is equipped to receive loving critique and productive feedback, it becomes fluent in change and harnesses the power of heterogeneity. Infusions of “different” perspectives from both inside and outside allow companies/orgs to build upon complexity rather than respond to it retroactively.

Implementation—some proven, some new

Incentivize offering / responding to alternative, different, and divergent perspectives. Many executive compensation packages are tied to DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) because this suite of organizational health requirements is related to business outcomes. I propose that everyone‘s comp should include these parameters because the company’s success requires both the information and the environment.

What it requires

Asking “who and what is being served?” and transitioning from “in charge” to “what works” by

• From power-driven environment >> to efficacy-first environment

• From hierarchy >> to clear decision-makers to minimize paralysis and optimize focus

• Decision-makers, strategists, and managers are trained in relational listening.

• From managers as implementers of executives’ visions >> managers empowered to respond and act in response to team members’ feedback

Suite of organizational effectiveness

PS is successful in concert with the DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) and Agile family of organizational success factors—the suite is integral to being “future-proof” because it enthusiastically acknowledges and accommodates consistent change (ex: cultural fluctuations) and inevitable “Black Swan” events (ex: COVID).

Part 2—Stages to Psychological Safety (coming soon)

Designing for, implementing, and benefiting from PS

Now that you’ve drunk the cool-aid, how do we get there? Stay tuned ;)

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