The Fearless Organization

Book description

Conquer the most essential adaptation to the knowledge economy

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent—but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of “fitting in” and “going along” spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought, and the interpersonal climate must not suppress, silence, ridicule or intimidate. Not every idea is good, and yes there are stupid questions, and yes dissent can slow things down, but talking through these things is an essential part of the creative process. People must be allowed to voice half-finished thoughts, ask questions from left field, and brainstorm out loud; it creates a culture in which a minor flub or momentary lapse is no big deal, and where actual mistakes are owned and corrected, and where the next left-field idea could be the next big thing. 

This book explores this culture of psychological safety, and provides a blueprint for bringing it to life. The road is sometimes bumpy, but succinct and informative scenario-based explanations provide a clear path forward to constant learning and healthy innovation.

  • Explore the link between psychological safety and high performance
  • Create a culture where it’s “safe” to express ideas, ask questions, and admit mistakes
  • Nurture the level of engagement and candor required in today’s knowledge economy
  • Follow a step-by-step framework for establishing psychological safety in your team or organization

Shed the “yes-men” approach and step into real performance. Fertilize creativity, clarify goals, achieve accountability, redefine leadership, and much more. The Fearless Organization helps you bring about this most critical transformation.


Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Introduction
    1. What It Takes to Thrive in a Complex, Uncertain World
    2. Discovery by Mistake
    3. Overview of the Book
    4. Endnotes
  3. PART I: The Power of Psychological Safety
    1. 1 The Underpinning
      1. Unconscious Calculators
      2. Envisioning the Psychologically Safe Workplace
      3. An Accidental Discovery
      4. Standing on Giants' Shoulders
      5. Why Fear Is Not an Effective Motivator
      6. What Psychological Safety Is Not
      7. Measuring Psychological Safety
      8. Psychological Safety Is Not Enough
      9. Endnotes
      10. Note
    2. 2 The Paper Trail
      1. Not a Perk
      2. The Research
      3. 1. An Epidemic of Silence
      4. 2. A Work Environment that Supports Learning
      5. 3. Why Psychological Safety Matters for Performance
      6. 4. Psychologically Safe Employees Are Engaged Employees
      7. 5. Psychological Safety as the Extra Ingredient
      8. Bringing Research to Practice
      9. Endnotes
  4. PART II: Psychological Safety at Work
    1. 3 Avoidable Failure
      1. Exacting Standards
      2. Stretching the Stretch Goal
      3. Fearing the Truth
      4. Who Regulates the Regulators?
      5. Avoiding Avoidable Failure
      6. Adopting an Agile Approach to Strategy
      7. Endnotes
    2. 4 Dangerous Silence
      1. Failing to Speak Up
      2. What Was Not Said
      3. Excessive Confidence in Authority
      4. A Culture of Silence
      5. Silence in the Noisy Age of Social Media
      6. Endnotes
    3. 5 The Fearless Workplace
      1. Making Candor Real
      2. Extreme Candor
      3. Be a Don't Knower
      4. When Failure Works
      5. Caring for Employees
      6. Learning from Psychologically Safe Work Environments
      7. Endnotes
    4. 6 Safe and Sound
      1. Use Your Words
      2. One for All and All for One
      3. Speaking Up for Worker Safety
      4. Transparency by Whiteboard
      5. Unleashing Talent
      6. Endnotes
  5. PART III: Creating a Fearless Organization
    1. 7 Making it Happen
      1. The Leader's Tool Kit
      2. How to Set the Stage for Psychological Safety
      3. How to Invite Participation So People Respond
      4. How to Respond Productively to Voice – No Matter Its Quality
      5. Leadership Self-Assessment
      6. Endnotes
    2. 8 What's Next?
      1. Continuous Renewal
      2. Deliberative Decision-Making
      3. Hearing the Sounds of Silence
      4. When Humor Isn't Funny
      5. Psychological Safety FAQs
      6. Tacking Upwind
      7. Endnotes
  6. Appendix: Variations in survey measures to Illustrate Robustness of Psychological Safety
    1. Endnotes
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. About the Author
  9. Index
  10. End User License Agreement

Product information

  • Title: The Fearless Organization
  • Author(s): Amy C. Edmondson
  • Release date: November 2018
  • Publisher(s): Wiley
  • ISBN: 9781119477242