Building Psychological Safety

The one common thing in high performing teams

Trust Google to do everything using data.

So, when they sought the answer to the question: “What makes a Google team effective?” – they set out to answer this question using data and rigorous analysis. Over two years they conducted 200+ interviews with employees and looked at more than 250 attributes of 180+ active Google teams. They were pretty confident that they'd find the perfect mix of individual traits and skills necessary for a stellar team – but surprise, surprise! They were dead wrong!

Who is on a team mattered less than how the team members interacted, structured their work, and viewed their contributions. Using their rigorous data analysis, Google brought it down to 5 attributes: Psychological safety, Dependability, Structure & clarity, Meaning of work & Impact of work. But of these five, Psychological safety was far and away the most important one they found – in fact, it’s the underpinning of the other four.

The million dollar question then is: How can we build this in our own teams?

Psychological Safety

Image credit: https://rework.withgoogle.com/

Psychological safety is a very fragile and yet a very vital ingredient in interdependent environments like our workplaces. Unfortunately, we are wired in a way that the brain processes a provocation by a boss, competitive coworker, or dismissive subordinate as a life-or-death threat that ignites the fight-or-flight response in us. Surely, there is a better way we can engage with each other in our teams?

A large source of conflict between individuals within teams is due to the fundamental attribution bias. In psychology, it is defined as a cognitive bias that happens when people evaluate or try to find reasons for their own and others' behaviors. To appreciate that the other person in the team is different, yet “just like me” is the first step in making this journey towards Psychological safety.

A few fundamental shifts in attitude towards a more win-win way of engaging with each other, structuring conversations in language that is more collaborative and less adversarial, replacing blame with curiosity and leaders embracing their vulnerability are a few other steps through which teams can go on to become more “safe” for everyone.

Through an engaging workshop experience that disarms participants gradually, till they are completely comfortable in being open and transparent with each other, FocusU helps teams in their journey towards building Psychological safety. The workshop leverages on the pioneering work done by Google and authors like Daniel Coyle on this fascinating subject. It also uses the latest psychometric tools like Emergenetics that is based on the latest in brain research, with traditional tools like the Johari construct to create a truly inclusive and immersive experience for all participants.

A few key parameters:



Is this workshop right for your team?

As the Google study revealed - the highest-performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety - the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake. Studies show that psychological safety allows for moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off — just the types of behavior that lead to market breakthroughs.

Regardless of whether you are a crack commando team, a high-strung corporate team, a service delivery team, a sports team or frankly, even a family – working on building a psychologically safe environment could be the biggest ROI initiative for you.

If you are keen on knowing how your team can take this journey, FocusU invites you to explore the Building Psychological Safety workshop!

Contact Us today - we will be glad to meet up and discuss the possibilities for your team!