Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation
This book is the first practical, hands-on guide that shows leaders how to build a culture of psychological safety. It's your guide to creating an environment where employees feel included, fully engaged, encouraged to contribute their best efforts, and safe to speak-up and challenge the status quo.
The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety framework acknowledges that we’re humans first and employees second. The framework follows a universal pattern that reflects the natural progression of human needs in social settings. These needs exist across demographics, psychographics, nations, and cultures.
Just like humans need water, food, and shelter to survive, teams that want to innovate need four things in order to thrive: they need to feel included and safe to learn, contribute, and challenge the status quo. Teams progress through these stages as they intentionally create cultures of rewarded vulnerability across The 4 Stages:
Can I be my authentic self?
Inclusion safety satisfies the basic human need to connect and belong. In this stage worth precedes worthiness. All you have to do to qualify for inclusion safety is be human and harmless.
Can I grow?
Learner safety satisfies the basic human need to learn and grow. In this stage, fear is detached from mistakes, and mistakes are rewarded as part of the learning process. To qualify for learner safety you must engage in the learning process.
Can I create value?
Contributor safety satisfies the basic human need to make a difference and offer meaningful contributions. When we create contributor safety for others, we empower them with autonomy, guidance, and encouragement in exchange for effort and results.
Can I be candid about change?
Challenger safety satisfies the basic human need to make things better. When we create challenger safety, we give air cover (protection) in exchange for candor.
Timothy R. Clark is the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a global consulting, training, and assessment organization focusing on leadership, culture, and change. Dr. Clark is an international authority in psychological safety & innovation, large-scale change & transformation, and senior leadership development. He has personally worked with more than 200 executive teams around the world.
With a PhD in social science from Oxford University, Dr. Clark is the author of five books, including his best-seller, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation. He has also written more than 200 articles in publications such as the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company. His mantra to leaders is, "Lead as if you have no power."
Psychological safety is bigger than corporate. It’s deeper than quotas. It’s more than a managerial responsibility. It’s about basic human needs. The need to belong. To grow. To contribute. To create.
So, read this book if you’re human. Because being human is a vulnerable thing, and we all crave cultures of rewarded vulnerability. Everyone. At any level. In any setting. We all crave psychological safety.