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As demonstrated through research (insert some references here), people are intently tuned into safety and belonging cues and send and receive these cues daily. This practice focuses on safety aspects required for people to effectively work together as a team:

  • They are safe
  • Their efforts are important
  • The relationship will continue

Pain Points

  • The organization is built around a very small number of heros whose word make every decision
  • There is a fear of speaking up as there could be consequences should your idea not be well received
  • Even though you are a knowledge worker, the organization really hired you to do things only in a narrowly perscribed manner
  • Little creativity or productivity exists within the organization


  • Team members are able to spend less time fearing consequences freeing up valuable brain cycles for more meaningful use
  • Team members openly share ideas and collaborate to find better solutions to problems
  • Team members feel ownership of business outcomes, not just their role, resulting in greatly improved results
  • Team members are able to tackle difficult conversations more easily as they feel safe / able to address issues


* Teams don't shy away from difficult discussions or problems  (+++pts)
* Team members openly share ideas, ask questions when something isn't clear and challenge ideas they don't agree with (++pts)
* Leaders and managers create opportunities for teams to interact and build trust with each other (+pts)
* When a decision is needed, the team tends to wait for a decision from others before proceeding (-pts)
* Some team members do not engage in discussion / only focus on "their job/role" (--pts) * All eyes are looking "up" for a manager decision on just about everything (---pts)


❑ Critical ✓ Helpful ❑ Experimental

Adoption Experiment

Steps to first adopt this practice:





Evaluate Feedback


What Does it Look like?

Any team is dependent upon both the quality of the skills the team posesses and also the ability of that team to collectively work together to deliver solutions and overcome challenges. For that to happen, team members must feel safe, wanted and have a sense this will continue for them to be able to engage in a meaningful way. It begins by well designed and thought out opportunities for interaction, building trust among team members, establishing language that points the team toward desired outcomes and provides opportunities for growth within the team.

Warning Signs

  • Team members vocalize or spend considerable chunks of their time worrying about things beyond their influence
  • Team members feel no connection to the team or team members
  • Teams are unable to resolve issues without external help as they are unable to engage in conflict resolution

Growth Path

How to Fail Spectacularly

  • Don’t provide teams with opportunities to get to know each other and build trust
  • Favor remotely located team members rather than colocated teams
  • Chastise team members for sharing ideas and making mistakes
  • Fail to provide negative feedback in person

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