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Making It Safe To Succeed

by David Brock on March 1st, 2020

Recently, I wrote, “Making It Safe To Fail, Hogwash!” It was a rant about the social psycho-babble around failure. We seem to have a culture that revels in failure–that is encouraging people to experiment, learn, innovate, and grow through “making it safe to fail.”

Yet, we never talk about the concept of “making it safe to succeed.”

Some might think it’s the other side of the same coin. I actually think it’s quite different.

Think about it for your own organization, for a moment. As a leader, are you doing everything possible to make it safe for your people to succeed?

Some things to think about:

  1. Are you recruiting and on boarding people who can succeed when given the opportunity and want to succeed? Have you developed rich competency models, for each role, and recruiting against that profile. Or are you recruiting the people you can get or with whom you have chemistry?
  2. Are you on boarding them effectively, helping them learn what it takes to succeed with your customers and within your company?
  3. Have you defined their job and your expectations of their performance with great clarity? Do they understand it? Have they internalized and owned it for their own? Do they understand the consequences of failure, do they own the accountability for those consequences.
  4. Are you giving them the resources, processes, systems, tools, training, programs, and support critical to their ability to succeed?
  5. Are you coaching and developing them, helping improve their ability to be successful?
  6. Are you creating a culture where people are challenged, can grow, feel they are being listened to, feel they are valued, and where they want to work?
  7. Are you creating an environment that fosters teamwork and collaboration?
  8. Are you creating an environment that encourages curiosity, learning, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, experimentation?
  9. Do people feel driven to succeed, but to do so ethically?
  10. Do people feel driven to succeed, but when they fail, the organization rallies around them, helping them reassess corrective actions required to create success.

People don’t want it to be safe to fail. They want it to be safe to succeed, to stretch, to achieve, to be creative/innovative, to learn and grow. They want to be part of an organization obsessed doing the things that create consistent success.

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