I hear a lot from leaders that they want to encourage “calculated #risktaking” in their orgs/companies. My perspective might surprise you, but I believe it's all about whether you build a culture of "Psychological Safety"... 1/n

#leadership #management #psychologicalsafety
I believe you get more risk taking when your organizational culture values and promotes psychological safety as compared to a focus on rewarding risk takers when things pan out. So what is psychological safety and how do you create it in your culture... 2/n

#LeadersShapeCulture
Wikipedia defines it as "a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking." & evidence shows that people are more willing to take risks when they don't fear blowing up their careers for saying/doing one wrong thing... 3/n

#NotMissionImpossible
What’s calculated risk taking? It's not wildly swinging at every pitch. I've seen it described as “thinking big” & making “bold bets." It’s all about stretching into new areas that alter your trajectory vs. settling for small wins or incremental progress ... 4/n

#NoMouseNuts
So how do you create a culture where psychological safety flourishes? It’s easy when you already agree with everyone, or you came up with the “big new idea” and others are merely executing on it... 5/n

#WeDoTheseThingsBecauseTheyreHard
But we know *you’re* great since you rose to the top (work with me here). What you want is to get amazing ideas from all the awesome people you worked so hard to hire/retain. You need *others* to feel like they too can contribute w/o fear of blowback ... 6/n

#ForceMultiplier
So, start with your own behavior. How often do you listen vs talk in meetings? When you do talk, how often do you ask a follow-up clarifying question vs launching into whatever your immediate conclusion is? 7/n

#GuiltyAsCharged
When you do state your own perspective and you disagree (in itself fine), do you speak with care & respect for their humanity? Or do you try to "make sure" the other person knows the idea was wrong and/or that they didn't phrase it correctly? 8/n

#PeopleArePeople
Creating a culture of psychological safety means active listening, follow-up questions & probing for detail until you bottom-out on perspectives that might be *radically* different than your own. Otherwise where will you find what you weren't even thinking about? 9/n

#BoldBeets
None of this means you have to have a “low bar” when it comes to validating risky ideas, especially if they involve large $ outlays or could hit the company rep. I just reject that having high standards is synonymous with being aggressive and/or loud ... 10/n

#FalseDichotomy
Being overly harsh or dismissive is demoralizing and destructive to engagement. If you get aggressive to "ensure" folks know their ideas won’t work, it generally doesn't result in more ideas. It silences debate & flows downhill... 11/n

#CultureStartsAtTheTop #ImpactTrumpsIntent
where it is mirrored by less calibrated leaders, who eventually build a culture based on fear of "stepping out of line" - which wasn't your intent! Go watch that movie with Michael Keaton & see what happens when you make a clone of a clone of a clone... 12/n

#Multiplicity
This goes triple for how this harshness can be experienced by women/PoC/underrepresented minorities (n.b. not mutually exclusive) who often feel like they're not on the "inside" with those who have “acceptable ideas"... 13/n

#DiversityandInclusion #ImposterSyndrome
Now sure, you can absolutely create all-company awards and publicly celebrate the risk taking. Especially if you do this in a way that celebrates "reasonably well-thought-out" risks that *didn't* work out/weren't successes ... 14/n

#AwardWinning #PositiveReinforcement
But fundamentally, the level of risk taking is in your org results from the culture you create, and reflects the lived outcomes for the people who speak up, propose new ideas or tackle ambiguous, ambitious problems with no clear solutions... 15/n

#GrowPositiveThoughts
That's my take on this. What have you seen work out in terms of encouraging healthy risk taking and a culture of innovation within your organizations? 16/16
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