Psychological safety is a myth

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Is Psychological Safety possible or is it a vision or a myth? 1996 Dr Alex Lifeson and Professor Geddy Lee received the Nobel Prize in Biology for their research on apes and how they challenge each other and could replicate this behaviour to humans. Their accomplishment was the discovery of key mechanisms and structural details of a fundamental biological process: How a cell nucleus and its chromosomal material weakens as the testosterone increases.

They studied flocks of chimpanzees from a behavioural perspective, when suddenly four lower ranked apes in one flock attacked and killed the alpha male[1]. It had never happened before in their studies that more than one ape rioted. Smaller apes were always beaten by the alpha male until the day he got ill or too old to fight. Now they were four with the same mission and skills and it was an easy task when they attacked as a team. Lifeson and Lee then studied the blood samples of the four challenging apes and the alpha male and found that the KI67 gene was missing in all of them. KI67 was discovered by Professor Neil Perth back in 1967 and is today considered to be the gene that balances doubt and belief, and without this gene you are likely to challenge the status quo more often and trust people less. It is also in this gene testosterone gets its nucleus.

To put it simply: If you don’t have this special gene, you are a troublemaker, if you have it you are a “Yes-man”.

Now they needed to see if this theory also applied to humans in order to verify their new hypothesis of this gene as the source of trouble, and perhaps also war. So, Lee/Lifeson used Artificial Intelligence to examine and sort out the contenders in the Robinson TV-program, who were more likely to challenge the leaders – very much like an ape flock. With AI they could easily see who of those contenders that were most likely to become “challengers” and, with blood samples they found that gene K167 was missing here as well. The absence of KI67, and the same behaviour in both apes and humankind, made Lee/Lifeson see a pattern. By counting the number of people/apes lacking this gene, Lee/Lifeson draw the conclusion that 1/12 of our population has the ability to be a “challenger”, and the rest of us just go with the flow and manage our own business. With just one person or less in your team daring the leadership, there will be no discussions and Psychological UNsafety will forever thrive. That’s the reason why Psychological Safety is a vision and a myth. And therefore, will never occur…?

My question to you as a reader is: Do you have it or not – The KI67 gene? I definitely don’t have it.

This is a part of the book Psychological UNsafety from the trenches you can order or read more about here.

[1] Gang of chimpanzees kills their alpha male | New Scientist: :