Why is Safety Such a Big Deal for Innovation?

Is it safe?
Is it safe?

There may be numerous things which need to be in place in order for an organization to be successful. It is my opinion that all of those items need to be built on a foundation of safety and trust. You may think those are separate concepts. I will respectfully disagree with that notion. Allow me to explain why I feel these are inseparable and must be in place simultaneously.

Without Safety there is no Trust

Without Trust there is no Safety

Keep in mind that perception equals reality. If your organization doesn’t perceive that safety exists, no one will trust you telling them that it does. You can’t change their perception, they (the people in your organization) must change their tribal beliefs based on observation. You can gain trust only over time.

Just because you have created a safe zone doesn’t mean folks trust that it exists. Therefore, it doesn’t exist. Just because you say it exists is not enough evidence for your organization to believe it exists. They must have trust.

Create a safe zone in your organization. Ensure that invitation means people are asked to participate in a experimentation which may help others, and themselves, gain knowledge. A few of the more radical individuals will test the boundaries of that concept. If they feel safe after they become involved, word will get around that maybe this “safe zone” stuff is for real. People will begin to notice the difference. Before long, a level of trust is reached and most will trust in the existence of safety.

Once Trust becomes a part of the belief system the Safety you created leaps into true existence.

Without safety there can be no real innovation or change.

If your team members aren’t safe when they speak their mind how is it possible to make the changes necessary for innovation and, dare I say, radical thoughts? Think about this as you are sitting there in that meeting you convened to go over what you want to do in the coming year. Is this your presentation, on your ideas, shaping your department (or company), they way you envision the future?

That was me not too many years ago.Thanks to some of the thought leaders I have had the privilege to meet, and converse with, I have a completely different viewpoint now. Safety and trust works. The concept will help you and your organization become better. As a side effect people may actually enjoy coming to work every day. Imagine that!!

You hire very knowledgeable, extremely talented, people to work in your organization. Are you allowing them to share that talent and genius? If not, you are wasting your money and their talent.