Amy C. Edmondson on psychological safety

Psychological Safety Amy Edmondson

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson on the power of psychological safety to drive innovation

Value through Vulnerability (boosted by HumansFirst) Host Garry Turner, Sponsored by Aequip

VtV Coalition

Garry Turner 0:00
Welcome to Value through Vulnerability, a podcast dedicated to putting the human back into humanity. And today I’m really grateful to welcome Amy Edmondson, Harvard professor on to the podcast. Hello, Amy.

Amy Edmondson 0:12
Hi, Garry. Nice to be here.

Amy Edmondson 0:29
Oh, academics don’t get that very often. So don’t hold back.

Garry Turner 0:37
Love it. Well, look as we get going. Would you mind for any listeners that may not know your your work? Just a bit of a brief introduction? Who is Amy Edmondson? Why do you what do you do for work?

What are you passionate about?

Amy Edmondson 0:49
I’m a professor. I’m a management professor and I have been doing research and teaching for a quarter of a century and I am passionate about the workplace, more specifically helping to make the workplace an environment where people can feel that they are able to bring their full self to work, that they can make a contribution to something larger than themselves. And that they can they can feel a sense of being respected and connected to others. And I think for some people that might sound like, oh, okay, no big deal. And for others that might sound like a pipe dream. I’ve spent the last couple of decades studying people at work, generally people who are interdependent with each other to get challenging work done. And finding that workplace is really different, that there are some places that have absolutely created an environment that works and for learning, for growth, for for full participation, and others that haven’t, and that’s what I care about. And that’s what I do and try to influence.

Garry Turner 2:14
It’s really powerful. You know, a big proponent myself with the whole sort of bring your whole self to work. I think sometimes it can seem back to your point about pipe dream.

It can seem such a big distance from where people are at and where they’re trying to get to, to bring that full self. What are the initial barriers that you see currently?

Amy Edmondson 2:39
I think the first barrier might be or a barrier might be, what does that mean to bring your full self to work now depending on what the work is and what the workplace is like, that may not mean I need to know everything about you personally. I need to know about your family or your childhood or anything like that. But to me that might be relevant in some places, maybe places that are devoted to therapeutic work or something, but what I really mean by bring your full self to work is that ability to contribute what I have to contribute to the shared enterprise. More specifically, can I speak up? Can I offer my ideas? Can I raise my hand when I’m not sure what to do? Can I point to things that aren’t working to problems, to mistakes, to failures. And I want people to be able to do that, because not just because I think it is a more enriching and ennobling way to be and to be at work, but because I think organizations today depend upon that. You know, when people hold back, you know, when they stay silent, when they should have spoken up. Not only does that not feel good to them, it actually can create harm and risk for others and for the organization.

“helping to make the workplace an environment where people can feel that they are able to bring their full self to work, that they can make a contribution to something larger than themselves. And that they can feel a sense of being respected and connected to others.”

Amy C. Edmondson

Garry Turner 4:09
It’s really interesting for me, one of the things I always find astounding Amy, these Gallup engagement stats for sort of 20, maybe 30 years now stubbornly stuck at one in three being fully engaged, I’d like to actually touch a little bit your book now, actually. So The Fearless Organization which I’ve had quite a delve into already, I must say and what you’re speaking to there’s this one is a note I took specifically which I found fascinating.

Quoting you, employees spend 50% more time collaborating now than they did 20 years ago. That is such a stark difference, isn’t it?

Amy Edmondson 4:42
It really is. Because if you stop, let’s just take that as a fact, because that has been documented. And I don’t think most managers have done enough to contemplate what that means. If people are that much more likely to be working with and interdependent with others, for the quality of the outcomes that customers depend upon, that calls for a very different style of working than the old fashioned top down command and control style, were ultimately maybe that wasn’t fun, but it could get the job done because the work was sufficiently independently accomplished. You did your part, I did my part and it all added up to products and services.

But when, in today’s world, the products and services that we create are far more likely to require us to talk to each other in a back and forth interdependent way, we better feel able to bring our whole selves to that task. If I am consumed with making sure I look good, and I don’t mean consciously. I mean, I think most suppose we’re not consciously thinking, Oh, I’m trying to preserve my image or say face or make sure I look good in front of the boss or in front of my colleague. No, we don’t think about it. Because we’re skilled at it, we just do it naturally. And one of the ways we do it naturally is by holding back. But anyway, if managers are not going out of their way, to create an environment where people are less consumed with looking good and more consumed with teaming up to get the job done, then they and their organizations are at risk.

Garry Turner 6:37
I’m sensing already and this is for anyone that’s listening or follows me already. You know, psychological safety is a massive, massive part of everything I talk about genuinely. So thank you for your work. I really mean that it’s a huge, huge proponent for me. So how much what you’re speaking to me there is this safety element, you know, how can someone actually be brave enough, vulnerable enough to say I’ve seen something, who’s gonna get someone’s going, you know, you could be quite serious sometimes and people just turn a blind eye.

Amy Edmondson 7:04
Of course. And so here’s what I like to think about this as a kind of very fundamental asymmetry. So let’s say, if I see something that I’m 100% confident, is a problem or an opportunity. And I’m, 99% confident that other people will react favorably, I don’t hesitate at all, I just say, watch out, right. That ladder is about to fall. It’s done. That’s not challenging. Where what happens is, though, for things that are not in that highly confident realm, I’m highly confident that it’s going to happen, I’m highly confident that it’s going to be helpful to speak up about it, our tendency is to hold back. Nobody wakes up in the morning, to go to work today to look incompetent. I just can’t wait to go to work to be competent and intrusive and naked, which means so here’s the asymmetry, the asymmetry is, if I speak up in this moment about something that for me is tentative might be a good idea might be a good point, it might make me look bad, it might not, who gains if I speak up? Well, we do, like the organization does or the customer does or the colleagues do. And how confident am I that that gain will will occur? Well, like, you know, 50-50 I don’t know, I’m not 100%. And when will that gain occur? Well, sometime in the future, when that better product is launched, or that patient has helped or whatever it is, it’s not this second.

“We need to go out of our way to get people to recognize that in fact, their voice is welcome, their voice is appreciated, that vulnerability is rewarded and necessary”

Amy C. Edmondson

Now, on the flip side, if I remain silent, who gains? I do, and how confident can I be in that gain? 100%. I’ve stayed safe for another second, right? And, when immediately, right, so think about that asymmetry. One is collective gain, not very confident and in the future, the other is immediate selfish gain right now. So it becomes so obvious why people hold back, but we don’t notice them holding back, we can’t see that an act of silence is an act of holding back, it just looks like an act of silence. It could be you had nothing to say, nothing going on in your head. So that fundamental asymmetry means that we need to go out of our way to engage people. We need to go out of our way to get people to recognize that in fact, their voice is welcome, their voice is appreciated, that vulnerability is rewarded and necessary, and you know, but nobody wants to be vulnerable. But vulnerability is mission critical in a volatile uncertain, complex, ambiguous world, right the new term vuca that people pillar appreciating more and more. So if you live in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, and you’re not willing to be vulnerable, then you’re at risk because we’re all vulnerable. The only question is, are we willing to own it?

Garry Turner 10:15
Oh, that’s powerful. Are we willing to own it? I love it. Right questions, everybody listening? Are we prepared to own a vulnerability? I love that. And I think it’s particularly poignant for me today. Because today, as we record, this is 19th of November, this International Men’s Day, and I just find it and again, this is not men bashing at all. I’m one of them. But I think it’s really hard for us in particular, and that, you know, the mental health stats, Amy, play this out, you know, men are three times more likely to commit suicide by holding in and not letting others know how they’re feeling is this showing up in your research as well at all?

Amy Edmondson psychological safety
The Fearless Organization Creating Psychological Safety by Amy C. Edmondson

Amy Edmondson 10:47
And I you know, what, I think since most organizations are still run by men and most organizations, you know, the higher you go, the more likely it is that you’re seeing mostly men in positions of responsibility and authority. It’s really all the more important that this message gets across because men, if you’re unwilling to be vulnerable yourselves, you’re likely not going to be tuned in to the human reality around you that other people might be feeling vulnerable and therefore unable or unwilling to speak up, you know, unwilling to ask for help when they’re in over their head, which is not so much something that will, immediately benefit them but will benefit the customer or their colleagues or their patients depending on the kind of workplace. So, because nobody likes to be vulnerable, we all have to be willing to take it on, to take on that need to be vulnerable, so collectively we can be safe, which sounds kind of paradoxical. But it’s it’s honestly true.

Garry Turner 12:06
It’s really, it’s really interesting because I speak a lot from the heart around this stuff I don’t I’m not as clever as you guys over there with your research base. So it’s nice to know. But generally, it’s nice to be talking to you and having an alignment in what we both see, but almost from a pure, much more emotional, day to day work based versus the research and it seems to be bearing out to me.

“Human beings are self protection machines”

Amy C. Edmondson

Amy Edmondson 12:24
Well, and if you think about it, I think both from personal experience and from the social psychology research, human beings are self protection machines, by the time you’re in, in elementary school, you have found ways to, to stay safe right to protect yourself from scorn, or, being made fun of and it’s, it’s something that’s so highly skilled after a while we don’t even notice ourselves doing it and in some sense the self protection job gets done, we most of us are pretty good at self protection. But in so doing, we’re losing the bigger prize, you know, we’re losing that larger opportunity to make a difference, to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to be vulnerable enough to kind of really team up with other people, and do far more exciting things than stay safe.

Garry Turner 13:30
Let’s just see if we could just segue a little bit into your book, you’ve got a new book out The Fearless Organization, which as I say, is a very, very good read.

What was the inspiration for the book?

Amy Edmondson 13:41
Well, there’s two ways to think about that inspiration. One is where did the inspiration for this line of research come from, which I can talk about and then the other is why write this book and why write it now. And so maybe if I take them both– the first one I stumbled into this concept and phenomenon of psychological safety, and just what a big difference it can make in people’s willingness to engage in learning behavior and then to perform well, especially in interdependent or team based settings quite by accident. It was I was looking for something else. I was looking and I described this in the book in some detail in this section called discovery by mistake, I was looking to show that better teams made fewer mistakes. And I was studying this in the healthcare setting. And instead, what I found was it looked like according to a well validated survey, measure of teamwork and team effectiveness, that better teams were making more mistakes. In other words, they at least were reporting and recording more mistakes and they were more willing and able to talk about them and I started to think, wait a minute, maybe they don’t make more mistakes. Maybe they are more vulnerable and more willing to talk. about them.

“Better teams were making more mistakes”

Amy C. Edmondson

So it took quite a bit of additional work and research to create a plausible case that that interpretation was right. But I think ultimately, the case as well made. So it wasn’t what I was looking for. I was interested in learning, of course, but I had never thought about psychological safety before. And so I then found some robust ways to measure it through a survey measure and some other things, but that’s the most popular , and then went out trying to find in other industry settings, the whether this construct really existed, whether it varied and whether it predicted learning behavior, and indeed, whether it explained performance differences and otherwise similarly resourced and composed teams and projects, and indeed it did. So that became a kind of 20-25 year journey. Now many people, other other than I have done good research with this measure and found that it explains lots of differences in performance everywhere from k-12 education to manufacturing, health care, science and more. So that was that, you know, that was sort of how I stumbled into it by accident, just kept pursuing this topic.

Why I was motivated to write the book was in part, because the people suddenly, after 20 years of my doing research on this, were talking about it in the real world. It was it was getting attention in the blogosphere, it was in mainstream management, books and articles and blogs. And that was, in part because Google did a study, a very well publicized and very impressive study, trying to explain differences in performance between teams at Google and to make their long story short, they discovered that psychological safety was the big factor that, that explains just so much of the variance as to make the rest almost unimportant. So that led to a big article in The New York Times, a lovely article and a book written by Charles Duhigg. And so then all of a sudden, people were talking about it. And so, in fact, I would see online, I would see Google’s idea of psychological safety. So then I thought maybe it was time to write the book.

Garry Turner 17:30
Seems a fair point.

Amy Edmondson 17:32
Thank you Google. Right, because that’s just been remarkable. It’s generated so much interest, and I don’t mean interest in my work. I mean, interest in the kind of workplace that we’re really high quality work gets done in a vuca world

Garry Turner 17:50
It’s really interesting because so listening to you talk about this passion of yours for a couple of decades Amy around this area, and only recently for it to become ‘mainstream’ is really interesting.

There seems to be this disconnect at times isn’t there, between doing the academic research, and people actually living it out?

Amy Edmondson 18:10
A big disconnect. And then the irony of that is, at least in the kind of research I do, I’m not someone like a biological scientist who’s toiling away in the lab, and discovering, some gene that then can be put into medicines, but that that necessarily takes a while. And that initial work is quite cut off from the real world. But in contrast, the kind of research I do is where, in fact, practice leads theory. Because what I do is I go into companies, I talk to people, and I observe people and I try to figure out what’s going on. And so I ever learned something, it’s only because someone very thoughtful and skillful in a real company has showed me something. So I don’t want to oversimplify it. But sometimes, all I’m doing in addition to measuring it and running some statistics on things is bringing to the world the good practices that are already out there and hoping that they then can spread. I don’t invent anything, right. I don’t do any basic thing in the lab, I just say, hmm, who’s good? And then if I find someone you know, you find people in organizations who are good, you bring them to the world.

Garry Turner 19:26
I love it. Because yes, that was interesting for me. You’re, you’re an exceptionally good networker, and who talks about academics being great networkers? It’s not a common conversation is it?

Amy Edmondson 19:37
I’m not sure I’m a good networker, but I have a very broad network. It’s true. I mean, it’s because I’ve lived many lives, like I’ve been in different industries and roles. So I often think that some of the people I know and know well, would never have met each other in a million years.

Garry Turner 19:58
I love that. Let’s come back to the work in your your book, your most recent book, The Fearless Organization. You talk about Eli Lilly, actually, because they’re actually one of my customers in my other world, we actually supply them with some chemicals.

You reference Eli Lilly and their failure parties around intelligent failures, could you give it some context?

Amy Edmondson 20:23
The Chief Scientific Officer number of years ago instituted this as a ritual as a routine failure party. So first of all, it’s within r&d right now, I’m not saying it has to be I think other companies have done similar things. But for now, we’re in the context of research and development. So a failure party is a ritual that we have when a substantial failure has occurred, let’s say a series of scientific experiments that didn’t produce the results that we had hypothesized and hoped for, or a clinical trial that we hoped would show efficacy on a tratment but didn’t. So both of those qualify in my lexicon as intelligent failures, because we had done deep thought, we had hypotheses that were grounded in prior experience and research. And we made a solid prediction about what we thought would happen. And then nothing you can do at that point, except try it. And then you try it. And lo and behold, you’re wrong. Right? So it’s a failure and make no mistake, nobody’s happy about it. And yet, we have to train ourselves to celebrate it, because otherwise we won’t be taking smart risks. Otherwise, people will just take safe bets, they’ll do the experiments that they know with near certainty will work out. That’s fine. It’s nice to have all those experiments always work out. But it’s not the way you learn anything new. It’s not the way you innovate. It’s not the way you come up with new life saving medications.

So I think what this leader recognized was the need to keep reinforcing that message that we want you taking risks, intellectual risks, scientific risks, so that we can learn fast and having a party and it’s not champagne, right? It’s gonna be pizza and beer or something, but it’s a nice recognition. Yep. Great. Try. Number two. I think it’s a brilliant idea. Because when people show up at the party, and they will have free beer free pizza. Then they talk and they talk about what happened, which pragmatically decreases the chances to near zero that someone else will do the same thing. Because an intelligent failure the second time is no longer intelligent. It’s now preventable. The third thing that a ritual like that does at Eli Lilly and elsewhere is when people know that this is part of how we do things, they’re more willing to call a failure, a failure in a timely way. They’re less likely to keep throwing good money after bad. You know, and when we throw good money after bad, we are failing to reinvest those resources, whether people’s time or dollars in, new experiments and new trials. So, so I think for all three reasons, you know, creating the culture, spreading the news and encouraging timely reporting of failure, it’s just a wonderful way to acknowledge the reality of, innovation.

“We’re fear based creatures we want to be liked, we want to be respected. And that drive will overwhelm us and get in the way of just candor.”

Amy C. Edmondson

Garry Turner 23:54
I can think back to so many times in my career the last 20 years where we’ve made the same mistakes time and time again, because that’s not good, because someone had just not spoken up. A pretty good experience of that.

Amy Edmondson 24:05
Sometimes it seems crazy. But you know, rationally, wouldn’t people speak up with what they know? Well, yeah, rationally, but we’re not rational creatures, we’re, we’re emotional creatures. We’re fear based creatures we want to be liked, we want to be respected. And that drive will overwhelm us and get in the way of just candor.

Garry Turner 24:29
I’m going to throw a little bit of a curveball, and if I may, because just because it’s an interesting question, I see it discussed a lot on social media and in my own organization, is do you think as Amy Edmondson there’s a difference between leadership and management is the old discussion, but just what put you on the spot and just wondering, do you see a tangible difference in the workplace or not?

Do you see a tangible difference in the workplace between leadership and management?

Amy Edmondson 24:51
I do. And you have to recognize this is definitional. This isn’t this isn’t phenomenological. So definitionally definitionally management is the art of getting work done through others. I’m a manager, I have a role to play, I need to be clear about what needs to be done. I need to give feedback, I need to ensure that the trains are running on time. That’s very important work. And by the way, these two functions are not mutually exclusive, nor are they at odds. They’re just different. But leadership, I would like to argue is the art of harnessing others efforts to achieve something none of us could achieve alone. It’s the art of harnessing and to harness your efforts, I also have taken on the responsibility to motivate to inspire and indeed to develop. So if management is getting work done through people, leadership is then the art of getting people developed at work, through work, and and along the way we’ll get great things done. But my primary goal as a leader is to inspire, to engage and to develop.

Garry Turner 26:15
That’s lovely, thank you for a really, really, really clear answer, which is very impressive, because it’s one of those things that goes round and round in the middle. And I’ve always known for me, it’s always been clear, in line what you said, but not with that much clarity. And I think there’s a lot of people talk about being at odds, and I think that’s a really important message.

Amy Edmondson 26:32
If you think about those two definitions, a person can be a great manager in the sense of helping ensure that the work is getting done in, you know, in high quality, timely ways, while also recognizing and being willing to take on the responsibility of developing people, inspiring people, and aspiring to create a sort of a better world than we have.

There’s a lot of talk about inclusion at the moment, rightly, is that a key part of the work that you do?

Amy Edmondson 27:10
Historically it wasn’t it wasn’t on my radar that was sort of a separate field of inquiry, you know, the field of diversity and inclusion was over there. And there’s certainly people with great expertise, and it wasn’t my expertise. But increasingly, I’m finding that not only am I but I have to be quite interested in this topic. And it’s, of course, tightly related. Because inclusion literally means I am included, I feel included, I feel that my voice matters. And if that isn’t the definition of psychological safety, I don’t know what it is, you know, my voice matters. My voice is welcome. My voice is valid. That doesn’t mean I get to tell everybody what to do or that I’m always right, but it does mean that I have a right and evil In an obligation to offer my voice offer what I had, and that won’t happen. You can, you can deliberately you can go out of your way to hire for diversity. But diversity won’t spontaneously translate into inclusion. I can look around and the workforce looks quite diverse, and the people who really have a voice are a particular group, let’s say, and so we’ve got to work hard to make sure that diversity is manifested as inclusion. And to me, that’s what psychological safety is all about.

Garry Turner 28:38
I don’t think I need to ask you my question around if psychological safety is linked to vulnerability, Amy, I think it seems to be quite clear that there’s a correlation there.

What does vulnerability mean to you, and how does it relate to psychological safety?

Amy Edmondson 29:01
To me vulnerability means recognizing and then being okay with the fact that I could get hurt. Vuln from the Latin vulnerable wound. And we’re all vulnerable all the time. This so many physically, emotionally but especially we’re talking about emotional vulnerability. And what is very psychologically natural to do is to, we don’t like that feeling of being at risk for being hurt. So we try to keep it at bay.

We keep ourselves safe, you know, we privilege self protection over self expression. I worked for a wonderful man named Larry Wilson who called this the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose, self protection is playing not to lose and it’s not visible to the outside. If I am engaging in self protection, you may not be able to tell because you don’t know that when I’m speaking up and saying what I say that it’s actually the safest version of what I have to say, but I’m holding back my real self or my worries, my concerns and my hopes and my dreams. I’m not sharing those with you. And you can’t tell if the act of non sharing is not visible. So vulnerability is, you know, really so much about a willingness to accept the reality of the fact that we could in fact get hurt by others at any given time. And to be okay with that, to sort of be able to tell yourself, yes, I might feel hurt and that’s not going to kill me. I’ll be okay. I can’t expect to be just feeling you know, absolutely safe and bulletproof all the time, or it won’t really be engaged in life.

Garry Turner 31:08
It really speaks to me personally, on my own journey to be honest, because something about leaning in isn’t there. There’s just something about just going first almost to some extent.

Amy Edmondson 31:17
If you go first, you’re vulnerable. Right? If you speak up first, you know, unless you’re 99% convinced that what you have to say is going to make everybody think you’re a hero, then by speaking, you are vulnerable. And going first is nearly always an act of vulnerability or accepting vulnerability

Garry Turner 31:41
If you’re going to take two or three of the key themes from writing the book that you did.

What surprised you or inspired you the most writing the book that maybe you didn’t see as you went into the process?

Amy Edmondson 31:57
It’s a hard one because you know, well, when did it start? When I went into the process of saying, Okay, I’m going to write this book, I didn’t know how, I didn’t know what it would look like or how to structure it. And, you know, I was trying to think of all the different points that needed to be made. And then those could potentially be chapters and I was trying to list those. And it just seemed a little bit, the way I was thinking about it seemed a little bit dry. And the the interconnections between, you know, when you try to say, organize things by silo, you know, a chapter is a silo. It’s sort of like, wait, if I talk about failure over here, that’s so closely related to talking about innovation over here, like it doesn’t work, you can’t really separate it.

And so what I had the sort of sudden recognition that what really matters are the stories, the stories of individuals, stories of companies, and, then of course, it was, so obvious to recognize that there are good stories and bad stories. And I realized that that could be the core of the book, you know, the good stories and the bad stories. And the bad stories are the stories where fear based workplaces lead to bad outcomes. And those are divided into two types. Right? So the one type of bad outcome are business failures, you know, marketplace failures, scandals that didn’t have to happen, right that were absolutely preventable, had people felt safe to speak up. The other kind are human safety failures, you know, people getting harmed physically or, or even in some cases in high risk settings even killed. And so I separate you know, the sort of where fear based workplaces can create business risk and human safety risks. And then stories were deliberate efforts to create psychologically safe environments lead to and support business successes, as well as human safety successes.

Garry Turner 34:08
What I love about your work, honestly, it’s just the humanity of it all, you know, we’re not talking about how do you try and strategize the heck out of something or design a structure around something.

I’m really sensing it’s just about how do you help someone really be themselves? Is that a fair comment?

Amy Edmondson 34:24
It’s a fair comment. And in fact, it’s really all stemmed from my recognition very early in my working career working life that, well, you know, it’s a blinding flash of the obvious most of us spend more of our waking hours at work than anywhere else. And it’s an obvious point. But if then, that meant that the workplace is not a place where I feel recognized or freedom to really contribute what I have to contribute. That’s somewhere between a tragedy and a waste. And so I kind of got into, I’m interested in people, you know, what does it take for people to feel ennobled by and able to make the contributions they can make. And a lot of that has to do with our relationships with each other. And, what kind of place is this when I show up at work in the morning, or in the evening, who’s there, colleagues, friends, or enemies and potential threats.

Garry Turner 35:35
You’ve referenced quite early in your book, another person I’m a big fan of and that’s Nilofer Merchant you referenced one of her quotes, I’ve read her book ‘The Power of Onlyness’, which was very, very impressive as well, is Nilofer somebody you have had some interactions with?

Amy Edmondson 35:49
I met her at The Thinker’s 50 conference in London that happens every other year and and she’s delightful and the story I tell is about, her own honesty, talk about vulnerability, her own honesty in describing how early in her career, she was holding back all the time. She wasn’t really sharing ideas unless they were, she was 100% sure they were going to be well received by higher ups and and what a waste that was.

You state that anyone can help create a psychologically safe environment. Would you mind just expanding on that a little bit? What does that mean?

Amy Edmondson 36:36
I think it’s such an important point because most when people start to learn about this work, one of the first things they think is okay, this is great, but I’m not the boss, or I’m not the CEO. And it is true that bosses and senior executives have an outsized role in shaping the culture of the organization, and the fact is, wherever you work and with whomever you work, you can make a small difference by simply reaching out and asking a person, another person, that colleague, a subordinate, a thoughtful question about what they’re thinking what they’re seeing, you create a kind of micro moment of psychological safety, where they’re being listened to, because you’ve asked, I am interested, Garry in what you’re thinking. And so then you say something, and in that moment, and then I listen. So, you know, these are this is just a tiny, small act, but you start adding those up, day in and day out in the workplace, it becomes clear that any one of us can just make our colleagues sense of feeling respected and engaged, a tiny bit better, and that adds up. It’s so focus. It’s so natural to focus on what they up above us or not doing and in fact a far more productive and healthy focus is what can I do and it might not be a whole lot but it can be enough ,so asking questions of others, being willing to say things like I’m sorry or I missed that or I’m I’m so sad that happened to you, just the small little things that lead other people to feel they’ve been seen, Seen as a human being and appreciated as a human being. That just goes I think it goes a long way.

Garry Turner 38:16
It’s lovely, a one of the the notes I took from the book as well as some of the power questions that you can use, such as, I don’t know, the safest questions that open up that safety which I find amazing.

Amy Edmondson 39:18
And people people don’t want to say I don’t know because they think that will make them look stupid, when in fact it actually makes them look smart, because in in today’s world with hundreds of hundreds areas of expertise, nobody knows everything clearly. So when you say I don’t know, you look confident and self assured, not weak and ignorant.

Who or what is inspiring you the most right now?

Amy Edmondson 39:18
Ah, that’s a great question. It’s just hard I what came to mind. And now we’re after our midterm election. So I hope this won’t sound like a no longer relevant thought. But I’m enormously inspired by Beto O’Rourke. I’m inspired by his optimism. He was a congressman in El Paso, Texas running for the senator position. And he’s thoughtful and passionate and optimistic. He is an amazing educator and he can help people on both sides of an issue kind of understand each other. And that’s what really matters in our are quite volatile world. So I’m so impressed by that young man, by his thoughtfulness, by his wisdom, and by his compassion and energy.

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Garry Turner

With over 20 years of international sales, business development and relationship-building experience combined with a deep understanding of people, team and culture dynamics, Garry Turner serves individuals, teams and leaders as a strategic advisor and interpersonal catalyst.