This is an example of a really powerful exercise to qualitatively measure psychological safety, team performance, and work collaboratively to increase both, via a workshop that can be carried out remotely or in-person.
This is really effective for short-lived teams, who haven’t had, or won’t have, time to build and establish common norms and behaviours. For long lived teams, try using the psychological safety survey.
There is sometimes a misconception made that psychological safety is a “fluffy” concept, about being “soft”, or about accepting lower standards. This is definitely not the case. In fact, a culture of psychological safety necessitates and enables higher standards of performance, delivery, and quality.
The diagram below, from Dr Amy Edmondson’s “Fearless Organisation” illustrates one way of modelling your team’s culture, by plotting psychological safety against “drive to perform”. In the book, Dr Edmonson uses the term “accountability“, but depending on the language of your team, you may wish to substitute a different term such as “motivation”, or “drive” – utilising Daniel Pink’s “Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose” trifecta.
Here’s what each of the quadrants mean:
I recently used this quadrant exercise with a team at Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, using Miro.
The exercise has three main steps:
To facilitate the last discussion, about the behaviours and practices that will enable the team to build psychological safety, try using the IN/OUT exercise as described here. It’s a great way to facilitate a discussion about practices and behaviours that build (and avoid ones that damage) psychological safety.
Please use this with your teams to increase psychological safety and performance, and let me know how it goes!