Business ideas

Psychological security will earn you the best business ideas

Imagine a world in which Google Earth would never have been developed, and the ability to digitally search the world was limited to a flat map with streets, rivers, and landmarks. That might still be the reality if Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page reacted differently to John Hanke’s idea on geospatial research. Instead, Brin and Page performed it thoroughly, and now a virtual globe is searchable at your leisure.

Indeed, listening to and encouraging the ideas of colleagues is a characteristic of the company that has made Google so successful. This has contributed to a culture of psychological safety, a level of trust that produces more creative and empowered work environments. Psychological safety means being able to speak honestly without worrying about retaliation. It’s contributing without fear of embarrassment or worry that a teammate will steal an idea. And it’s understanding how what you do fits into the vision and goals of the organization.

Unfortunately, too many companies fail to create psychologically safe workspaces.

Why psychological safety is important

In a psychologically healthy workplace, employees “feel like they have a voice,” observes David Ballard, senior director of applied psychology at the American Psychological Association. “They feel like they are involved in the decisions that affect them at work. They have enough autonomy, control and flexibility in their lives that many people did not have in the past.

When workers share a sense of being treated well and not being caught off guard by hidden intentions, they tend to focus more on their tasks. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, employees in high-trust companies have 106% more energy, 50% higher productivity, and 76% increased engagement.

Unfortunately, not all companies promote psychologically safe and highly reliable work environments. As a result, these companies miss out on key benefits such as natural collaboration, calculated risk taking, improved innovation, reduced internal conflict, and acceptance of vulnerability.

How to strengthen psychological security

Obviously, it makes sense to promote psychological safety in the workplace. You can get started today by adopting a few practices in your office.

1. Make meetings emotionally secure forums.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t express yourself in meetings for fear of being reimbursed or belittled? You have experienced the opposite of psychological security. Chances are, you left the conversation without adding anything of value. Not only did this leave you feeling job dissatisfied, but it also hurt your business efficiency by reducing creativity and ideas.

Solving this problem involves breaking down psychological walls and reframing individual and group meetings as positive, vibrant gatherings. David Hassell, co-founder and CEO of 15Five performance management software, believes leaders need to take the first step to making zone meetings safe. “If your employee doesn’t feel safe to be honest, they’ll say what they think you want to hear. If they look up and take a few seconds, then they’re focusing on their thoughts and not their feelings, ”says Hassell. “Build trust by first sharing how you feel. The more genuine and vulnerable, the better. Start your meetings by simply explaining to your reports why today is a good day or a bad day for you, and see how they open up in response.

2. Democratize company information.

Secrecy is a formidable literary vehicle in detective novels and action movies, but it has limited appeal in the workplace. Indeed, the lack of openness of business leaders destroys confidence. On the other hand, deliberate transparency and openness contributes to psychological safety. Amy Edmonson, a Harvard Business School professor recognized for recognizing the concept of psychological safety in the workplace, says leaders should be thoughtfully “transparent about relevant things,” such as bottom lines, customer information and metrics performance. Transparency proves that you trust your employees enough to be honest with them.

To make transparency a constant, communicate even the seemingly mundane details of your business. Employers should share “how the business is doing and how [employees] can make a significant contribution, ”advises Colum Donahue, CEO and co-founder of Genuity, a technology business management SaaS platform. “Using technology as a tool to keep your business on the books will empower employees, keep customers happy, and provide your business with opportunities for growth and improvement. »Make operational information available so everyone can work from the same playbook. For example, you can give staff access to software that tracks customer service issues and solutions, like Quick Base or Jira, or a document that highlights sales reps’ progress toward a revenue goal. collective affairs.

3. Encourage your team to brainstorm ideas.

A study published in Harvard Business Review found that corporate hierarchies tend to temper innovation. The researchers concluded that hierarchical behavior subtracted from psychological safety, while behaviors like curiosity, experimentation, and education added to it. If you, as a manager or executive, have long been positioned as the lead person on the idea, you could hinder the progress of your business. After all, if a single brain comes up with new projects or solutions to problems, the number of new ideas will be severely limited.

Gallup found that only about a third of workers in the United States feel their opinions matter at work. Instead of always being the one giving orders and offering answers, ask your coworkers for their opinions. Even if their suggestions don’t match what you want to hear, practice being grateful and thank them for adding their voice. For example, if an employee mentions that a workflow isn’t clear or a schedule seems unmanageable, encourage them to share any actions they would take for clarity or the time frame they would suggest. Be sure to use these comments to inform your choices and give each employee credit when their ideas lead to success.

Unless you want to continue to view the earth as flat, it is imperative that you enthusiastically support the generation of ideas within your team. Establish high levels of trust with your employees to create an atmosphere of psychological safety. The next time you hear “What if we …?” Be sure to listen.