Edmondson on Fearless Organizations & SMN Challenge

May 19, 2019

Edmondson on Fearless Organizations & SMN Challenge

Amy Edmondson, who is the Novartis Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School recently published her most recent book titled “The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth”. 

Achieving high performance requires having the confidence to take risks, especially in a knowledge-intensive world. When an organization minimizes the fear people feel on the job, performance — at both the organizational and the team level — is maximized. A fearless organization is one that provides psychological safety.

But as more and more consultants, managers, and commentators are talking about psychological safety, the risk of misunderstanding what the concept is all about has intensified. In a workplace, psychological safety is the belief that the environment is safe for interpersonal risk taking. People feel able to speak up when needed — with relevant ideas, questions, or concerns — without being shut down in a gratuitous way. Psychological safety is present when colleagues trust and respect each other and feel able, even obligated, to be candid.

Amy talked about how you make your organization fearless in a way that builds its capability. Small group discussions is part of our format. Here discussing the leadership implications of creating fearless organizations.

A faculty side-discussion with professors Edmondson, Van de Ven, Sætre & Nguyen.

The leader’s toolkit for building psychological safety (Table 7.1) from the book.

Amy discussing the main takeaways from the seminar.

Simen Husby from Sparebanken 1 Midt-Norge presents a challenge on organizing for innovation to the audience.

We were also fortunate to have Andrew Van de Ven a professor emeritus at the Carlson School og Management at the University of Minnesota.

Discussions were flowing about how to organize innovation in established organizations and how to create a shared vision across different cultures in the organization.