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Joshua Kerievsky and Heidi Helfand on High Performance via Psychological Safety

| Podcast with Joshua Kerievsky Follow 1 Followers , Heidi Helfand Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 11 Followers on Sep 18, 2017 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Joshua Kerievsky CEO of Industrial Logic and Heidi Helfand Director of Engineering Excellence at Procore Technologies and author of the book Dynamic Reteaming about their talk High Performance via Psychological Safety

Key Takeaways

  • You cannot have a high performing team unless you have psychological safety
  • Creating a safe environment is hard, and it must go beyond just lip service
  • Take the time to have crucial conversations early rather than later
  • The quality of the products we produce is a direct reflection of the quality of the conversations we have in our teams

1:45 You cannot have a high performing team unless you have psychological safety
1:55 Describing elements of psychological safety – the ability to be wrong, to ask questions, to question and challenge a superior, to be yourself
2:30 Ways to facilitate psychological safety
2:40 Changing the ways we run meetings and events
3:10 The importance of self-awareness and knowing how our own behaviours impact others
3:25 The danger of unintentional impacts from leader’s communications
3:40 Psychological safety is tied to other forms of safety – eg financial safety (you can’t be psychologically safe if you are in fear of your income disappearing)
4:10 The Modern Agile principle of Make Safety a Prerequisite
4:25 Creating a safe environment is hard, and it must go beyond just lip service (“you’re safe to tell me what you think” then getting into trouble for doing so)
5:25 The importance of being aware and having a deeper form of listening so you can really create the safe environment
5:55 The message comes from more than words – being aware of body language and non-verbal communications that are happening around you, the role of silence, how comfortable are people to speak up
6:35 This takes considered effort and an open mind from a leader, and developing this level of awareness can be hard but is absolutely necessary
7:00 Describing one practical technique – the Cycle of Mistrust model from the book Driving Fear Out of the Workplace
8:10 Self-awareness of when you might be in a cycle of mistrust is necessary to be able to break the cycle
8:20 When you become self-aware you are able to make choices about how you respond
8:25 Telling a story of lost trust, how easily it can happen and an example of getting out of the cycle by discussing a blog post on the topic
10:10 Helping people have challenging conversations is another technique which can be used
10:30 Take the time to have crucial conversations early rather than later. Quoting Joseph Grenny: The health of an organisation is determined by the time lag between noticing an issue and talking about it
10:55 Coaching to help people prepare to have the crucial conversations rather than leaving them to muddle through
11:32 Ways to have non-judgemental conversations, building empathy and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
12:20 The importance of preparing people to have healthy conversations and ensure there is no unresolved conflict
12:25 A possible new agile metric – MTTCR: "mean time to conflict resolution"
13:15 Referencing Google’s Project Aristotle where they observed that psychological safety is the number one ingredient for forming and sustaining high performing teams
13:35 The impact of poor relationships on the nature of the products teams build (Conway’s law)
13:45 The quality of the products we produce is a direct reflection of the quality of the conversations we have in our teams
14:10 There is a huge amount of information available on ways to build psychological safety
14:25 If senior leadership doesn’t create a safe environment from the top down then the teams will not be able to be safe for themselves
14:55 Leaders need to admit fallibility and vulnerability, model the behaviours they want to see in the organisation
15:08 Referencing vulnerability based trust that starts with the leader and why it is so important. The leader acknowledging their own mistakes gives implicit permission for others to do so
15:33 Referencing Jeff Bezos about Amazon as the “best place to fail”
15:40 Being safe to fail while still valuing operational excellence – it’s the experimentation mindset
16:00 If people are criticized for failing they are afraid to ever fail again and will no longer take any risks
16:35 This starts with techniques and tools at the executive level and cascades down through the teams with different tools and techniques
17:05 Use tools to poll the teams and get honest feedback on how safe the environment actually is
17:35 Experiment and learn rapidly – look for the tools that are out there and apply them, measure the results and adapt
18:00 Executives will care when they realize this is a doorway to high performing teams
18:10 Talking about how this shows up in Joshua’s company
18:50s Lots of interest in Modern Agile, lots of companies starting to adopt the four principles and pull-based training
20:00 Describing the ideas which contributed to Modern Agile – agile, lean startup, extreme programming, lean and others
20:25 The four principles are present in many successful organisations, without necessarily being explicit
20:36 Make Safety a Prerequisite is the hardest of the principles to achieve but is the foundation on which everything else rests, without it the other principles are unattainable
21:20 The thriving Slack community for Modern Agile
21:40 Teaching workshops around the principles of Modern Agile
22:05 The philosophy of modern agile is strongly principles based, practices are secondary and pull-based
22:47 Challenging oneself every day on applying the principles in action
23:30 Talking about the content on modernagile.org

 

Mentioned

Agile 2017
Industrial Logic
Procore Technologies
Book: Dynamic Reteaming
Modern Agile
Book: Driving Fear Out of the Workplace
Joshua’s blog post on the Cycle of Mistrust
Book: Crucial Conversations
Google Project Aristotle
Conway’s Law
Patrick Lencioni on Vulnerability Based Trust
Jeff Bezoz on Amazon as the Best Place to Fail

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