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Build an open and honest culture
where high performance and
creativity can thrive together.
Psychological
Safety
Creating a Fearless Culture
aug.co
Think of a time at work
when you didn’t speak up.
Take some time to think about this moment.
● What prevented you from speaking up?
● If you had spoken up, what might have been the benefits?
● What were the potential costs of not speaking up?
aug.co3 aug.co
What is Psychological Safety?
“Psychological safety is a belief that one will not
be punished or humiliated for speaking up
with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”
A team environment where people can speak up and share ideas -
even risky or challenging ideas - without fear.
*The materials in this presentation are adapted, with permission, from the work of Amy C. Edmondson
Amy C. Edmondson,
Prof. of Leadership and Management
at Harvard Business School,
Author of “Teaming” and
“The Fearless Organization”
aug.co4 aug.co
Three Keys to Building
Psychological Safety
Make Space
for
Different
Perspectives
Create a
Learning
Frame
Ask Good
Questions
“A 2012 internal research study conducted by Google found
that Psychological Safety is the most important ingredient
in developing team effectiveness.
aug.co
Make Space for
Different
Perspectives
Let people know that you are interested
in hearing what they have to share.
Remind people that hearing different
points of view makes the work better.
Ask people to challenge their normal
participation – speak up more if they
normally hold back, and hold back if
they normally speak up more.
ROUNDS
Let each person speak one at a time, in
turn, without interruption.
Check-In
To begin: What has your attention as we start
this meeting?
Agenda Share topics to discuss during the meeting
Creativity
Silently write down ideas, then share one person
at a time
Questions
What questions do you have to clarify your
understanding?
Reaction
Share your feedback: What works? What would
you change?
Closing To end: What are you taking away from this meeting?
PRACTICE
aug.co
Create a
Learning Frame
Share what you do NOT know.
Be open and clear about what you hope
to learn – even if the team fails.
Act as a scientist – focused on what
you hope to discover – rather than as a
politician – focused on convincing
others of your point of view.
HYPOTHESIS
Define a project mission in a way that can
be tested and validated.
PRACTICE
If we – [Idea or Action]
...then it will – [Benefit or Learning]
Good hypotheses are:
● Small but bold
● Specific, clear
● Measurable
● Can be proven or disproven
● Designed to gain insight
● Crafted in a way that makes it safe to fail
aug.co
Ask Good
Questions
Seek to understand other perspectives
even over getting others to understand
your own perspective.
Identify both the things that are
successful as well as the opportunities
for improvement.
Create curiosity and inspire others to
think creatively about possible
solutions.
LEARNING QUESTIONS
A set of three simple and easy to
remember questions that make it easy to
identify and share what you’ve learned.
PRACTICE
What’s working?
Identify what’s been successful
instead of just empty
appreciation
Where are we getting stuck?
Focus on what’s getting in the
way instead of blaming and
shaming
What might we do differently?
Think creatively and encourage
experimentation instead trying
to be perfect
aug.co
Evaluating Psychological Safety
Within the team or teams where you work most frequently... Agree Disagree
When someone makes a mistake on this team, it is rarely held against them.
On this team, it is easy to discuss difficult issues and problems.
On this team, people are not rejected or sidelined for being different.
It is safe to take a risk on this team.
It is easy to ask other members of this team for help.
Members of this team value and respect each other’s contributions.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone else in your organization, outside your team.
Answer as they might (expect this to be hard)... Agree Disagree
When someone makes a mistake on this team, it is rarely held against them.
On this team, it is easy to discuss difficult issues and problems.
On this team, people are not rejected or sidelined for being different.
It is safe to take a risk on this team.
It is easy to ask other members of this team for help.
Members of this team value and respect each other’s contributions.
aug.co
How should leaders think about
psychological safety as they
confront the COVID-19 crisis?
An interview with Amy
Edmondson, Professor of
Leadership and Management at
the Harvard Business School,
author of The Fearless
Organization, and advisor to
August Public Inc., sat down for
a short interview with August
Co-Founder Mike Arauz to share
her advice and wisdom.
Recorded March 2020

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A Beginner’s Guide to Psychological Safety

  • 1. aug.coaug.coaug.co1 Build an open and honest culture where high performance and creativity can thrive together. Psychological Safety Creating a Fearless Culture
  • 2. aug.co Think of a time at work when you didn’t speak up. Take some time to think about this moment. ● What prevented you from speaking up? ● If you had spoken up, what might have been the benefits? ● What were the potential costs of not speaking up?
  • 3. aug.co3 aug.co What is Psychological Safety? “Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” A team environment where people can speak up and share ideas - even risky or challenging ideas - without fear. *The materials in this presentation are adapted, with permission, from the work of Amy C. Edmondson Amy C. Edmondson, Prof. of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, Author of “Teaming” and “The Fearless Organization”
  • 4. aug.co4 aug.co Three Keys to Building Psychological Safety Make Space for Different Perspectives Create a Learning Frame Ask Good Questions “A 2012 internal research study conducted by Google found that Psychological Safety is the most important ingredient in developing team effectiveness.
  • 5. aug.co Make Space for Different Perspectives Let people know that you are interested in hearing what they have to share. Remind people that hearing different points of view makes the work better. Ask people to challenge their normal participation – speak up more if they normally hold back, and hold back if they normally speak up more. ROUNDS Let each person speak one at a time, in turn, without interruption. Check-In To begin: What has your attention as we start this meeting? Agenda Share topics to discuss during the meeting Creativity Silently write down ideas, then share one person at a time Questions What questions do you have to clarify your understanding? Reaction Share your feedback: What works? What would you change? Closing To end: What are you taking away from this meeting? PRACTICE
  • 6. aug.co Create a Learning Frame Share what you do NOT know. Be open and clear about what you hope to learn – even if the team fails. Act as a scientist – focused on what you hope to discover – rather than as a politician – focused on convincing others of your point of view. HYPOTHESIS Define a project mission in a way that can be tested and validated. PRACTICE If we – [Idea or Action] ...then it will – [Benefit or Learning] Good hypotheses are: ● Small but bold ● Specific, clear ● Measurable ● Can be proven or disproven ● Designed to gain insight ● Crafted in a way that makes it safe to fail
  • 7. aug.co Ask Good Questions Seek to understand other perspectives even over getting others to understand your own perspective. Identify both the things that are successful as well as the opportunities for improvement. Create curiosity and inspire others to think creatively about possible solutions. LEARNING QUESTIONS A set of three simple and easy to remember questions that make it easy to identify and share what you’ve learned. PRACTICE What’s working? Identify what’s been successful instead of just empty appreciation Where are we getting stuck? Focus on what’s getting in the way instead of blaming and shaming What might we do differently? Think creatively and encourage experimentation instead trying to be perfect
  • 8. aug.co Evaluating Psychological Safety Within the team or teams where you work most frequently... Agree Disagree When someone makes a mistake on this team, it is rarely held against them. On this team, it is easy to discuss difficult issues and problems. On this team, people are not rejected or sidelined for being different. It is safe to take a risk on this team. It is easy to ask other members of this team for help. Members of this team value and respect each other’s contributions. Put yourself in the shoes of someone else in your organization, outside your team. Answer as they might (expect this to be hard)... Agree Disagree When someone makes a mistake on this team, it is rarely held against them. On this team, it is easy to discuss difficult issues and problems. On this team, people are not rejected or sidelined for being different. It is safe to take a risk on this team. It is easy to ask other members of this team for help. Members of this team value and respect each other’s contributions.
  • 9. aug.co How should leaders think about psychological safety as they confront the COVID-19 crisis? An interview with Amy Edmondson, Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, author of The Fearless Organization, and advisor to August Public Inc., sat down for a short interview with August Co-Founder Mike Arauz to share her advice and wisdom. Recorded March 2020