Psychological (un-)safety inspiration

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Ten years ago Psychological Safety (PS) was nothing I had heard of. Since then Googles Aristotle project and professor Amy Edmundson have put PS on the map and today everyone talks about it – but few walk the talk.

I am working as an Agile coach and as such I struggle a lot to make PS a natural part of the everyday work and not only a great word to use. I have implemented PS in several organizations and the success factor is to make HR take the ownership, and for them to make sure that leadership not only understands and desires it, but also implements it.

This inspirational session objective is to tell the true stories of PS in companies operating in Sweden, a country with the best culture to grow PS in – to inspire you to walk the talk.

Ten years ago I had Impostor syndrome without knowing I had it, or what it was. Then I got the diagnosis from my manager who told me to speak up more. He said that I often had great insights but told them too late. Since then I have made a 180 turn and challenged the status quo often and hard, with trust in myself and my experience as the foundation. I might even have a splash of  the Dunning-Kruger effect? Today I consider myself the most experienced Agile coach in Sweden, a quantum leap from the old quiet me, but it has come with a price. A price i pay for the sake of sleeping well and stand up for the cause. These are my stories which the session is based upon. 

This session is an experience report where I tell my true stories. I will tell how PS is being used as an alibi and how functional stupidity and Management by Fear rules. But also how it can work as a foundation for a great work culture. I will tell you about the company who paid me a lot to keep quiet. I will tell you about the sect where outsiders were not welcome and where the Agile transformation did not want it. And I will tell you about the company that actually tried, but not really. I will also challenge the role of the Union that has safety as accountability without knowing what PS is. And on top of this, I will kill my darling Nicklas Lidström (the best Swedish hockey player ever?) as an example of a culture of fear and accusing him for not being a role model.

But it will not be a happy ending. I will also tell you why PS will not work in just any organization, and why it forever will be a great vision.

The session is best suited for a small team but can also be a part of a workshop for more people.