Culture by Design is Now ---- The Leader Factor

How to Build Inclusion Safety

This episode is the first in a four-part series on How to Build The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety. Listen in as hosts Junior and Timothy R. Clark, author of The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety book, share in-depth insights into the thinking behind the 4 Stages framework. The episode covers the history behind psychological safety as a concept, what psychological safety is not, where vulnerability fits into the equation, and how to activate the power of diversity through inclusion. As always, they also share 3 practical ways to create inclusion safety on your teams.

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How to Build The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™

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Episode Show Notes

This episode is the first in a four-part series on How to Build The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety. Listen in as hosts Junior and Timothy R. Clark, author of The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety book, share in-depth insights into the thinking behind the 4 Stages framework. The episode covers the history behind psychological safety as a concept, what psychological safety is not, where vulnerability fits into the equation, and how to activate the power of diversity through inclusion. As always, they also share 3 practical ways to create inclusion safety on your teams.

To see the slides and host annotations for the episode, watch it on YouTube:

Or download the resources from the episode here:

Episode Transcript


0:00:07.9 Junior: Welcome everyone to LeaderFactor. I'm Junior, this is my co-host, Dr. Tim Clark. And today, we're very excited to dive back into psychological safety. It's been a little while since we've done psychological safety content, has it? 

0:00:21.3 Tim: It has.

0:00:21.8 Junior: Hasn't it? We took a little hiatus. And today we're going to be talking about... These are my notes, all 25 pages of notes. We've got a four-part series on each of the four stages.

0:00:33.8 Tim: We have a lot to get through, I'm excited.

0:00:35.6 Junior: We do. And a lot that we probably haven't said, or at least in the same way that we're going to treat it throughout this series, we've upgraded a lot of the thinking, a lot of the models, a lot of the tools, and we're really excited to share that with people. So tell us a little bit about the origin story of psychological safety as far as LeaderFactor is concerned. I think that that might be an appropriate place to start because we've gone through... We've gone through several years now.

0:01:03.4 Tim: Yeah, we have. Well, Junior, maybe I'll even back up further than that and do the origin story for the concept.

0:01:09.3 Junior: Do it.

0:01:10.4 Tim: Because I think it's really interesting. So it goes back to 1955, and the eminent American psychologist, Carl Rogers, he wrote a paper called Towards a Theory of Creativity. And you can look it up online, it's there. 1955 it was published, Toward a Theory of Creativity. And this is where he brings in and introduces and really coins the phrase psychological safety, and he spends a fair amount of time on it. Now he's thinking about it in the context of a therapist and a client relationship, but it applies to any social collective and situation where we have human interactions. So that's the origin story. And then, of course, there's a slow development of the process over time. We use different words to get at what we mean, and then, just in really, I'd say Junior in the last three years, the world is consolidated around the term psychological safety. Now, you could use the word psychosocial, and that would be maybe even a little bit more accurate, but that's kind of a clunky word. So psychological safety is the word that is in currency that we use throughout the world today, and that's just recently happened really in the last three years that we've consolidated around that term.

0:02:34.2 Junior: Well, and part of our objective in this four-part series is to help people understand what we mean when we say psychological safety because what we mean is very different from a lot of what's out there.

0:02:45.0 Tim: Yeah.

0:02:45.3 Junior: Not from all of it, but from quite a bit of it.

0:02:49.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:02:49.5 Junior: We have a very strong perspective on what psychological safety is not. A lot of people may see that term, they might be bottom line driven, operationally-minded and say, well, that's kind of a soft topic, psychological safety. And we've seen a lot of reactions from clients over many years, and we're here to say that it is absolutely not a soft topic. It's about performance. It's about accountability.

0:03:13.3 Tim: It is.

0:03:13.8 Junior: It's about innovation.

0:03:15.2 Tim: It is.

0:03:15.6 Junior: And so for me, that's one of the most exciting things about psychological safety. So if anyone is interested in creating high performing teams, a high-performing organization, if you're interested in innovation, if you're interested in individual performance and team performance, culture building, all of these things have so much to do with psychological safety. So in today's episode, we're going to set up... We're gonna frame psychological safety, we're gonna introduce the four stages model, and then we're going to talk about inclusion safety. So we'll see how long that takes us.

0:03:47.7 Tim: Yeah.

0:03:48.0 Junior: Hopefully we can get through at a pretty good clip.

0:03:50.2 Tim: There's a lot to talk about.

0:03:51.2 Junior: There is. And we're going to go through the theory and the models, and then we're gonna get into behaviors. So at the end of each of these episodes and each of the four, we're going to dive into behaviors, things that we can actually do as leaders to improve the levels of each stage of psychological safety. So at the end of today, hopefully people have at least a basic understanding of what psychological safety is. We'll touch a little bit on what it isn't, and we'll talk about improving inclusion safety. So let's jump over to the model for a second because many people may have seen this. This is the four stages of psychological safety model. So by the end of this series, if you hang all the way through, you're going to understand the ins and outs of this particular model. So let's jump over to today. Stage 1, inclusion safety. This slide is really the premise of a lot of what we're going to be discussing, which is that human interaction is a vulnerable activity. Explain this for us.

0:04:52.6 Tim: Well, if you think about it, humans are social creatures, right, Junior? We are biologically, socially, emotionally, spiritually driven to connect. We long to belong, that's a way of saying it. But when we interact, there's always some risk or exposure to the possibility of harm, and so that makes human interaction a vulnerable activity by definition, by nature, and this is something that we don't sometimes acknowledge right from the beginning. When we interact as humans, we are engaging in a vulnerable activity. That's the premise, going in.

0:05:33.3 Junior: And that vulnerability, vulnerability we define as well, exposure to potential harm or loss.

0:05:39.0 Tim: That's.

0:05:39.9 Junior: And that could be across many categories. It could be physical, it could be emotional, it could be social. That's par for the course.

0:05:47.5 Tim: It could be political. It could be economic.

0:05:49.8 Junior: Exactly.

0:05:50.2 Tim: Yeah.

0:05:50.8 Junior: And so as we engage with other people, that's table stakes, that's just par for the course. We're going to engage in that, and anyone who's listening has definitely experienced that, that it's vulnerable, and you've probably been on the receiving end of some punishment as it relates to that vulnerability.

0:06:10.8 Tim: That's.

0:06:11.3 Junior: So If we come down to the next slide, we're gonna about threat detection. So as humans, we're navigating our environment, we're dealing with other people. It's inherently vulnerable. It's inherently risky. And so what does that mean? It means that our heads are on a swivel constantly looking at the environment, taking in the information and asking what question, is it safe here? Across all of those categories, is it physically safe here? That will govern my behavior. Is it socially safe? Is it emotionally safe? And depending on what we see, we're gonna change our behavior.

0:06:47.7 Tim: Yeah.

0:06:47.9 Junior: So explain this to us.

0:06:49.2 Tim: Sure. Well, let's step back. So if you go into a social situation, say you go into a meeting, or I guess any kind of social situation, what are you doing? Well, at first blush, you might think, well, what do you mean what am I doing? I'm not doing anything. I'm just there. I'm participating. No, no, no, step back, step back. You are watching, you are observing, you are listening, you are perceiving. So think about it more deeply. Do a little metacognition, think about the way you're thinking and what you're doing. You are trying to read the social environment and figure out what's going on, and you are asking yourself a question, am I in a safe or an unsafe environment? And you have to answer that question. The answer you give yourself will govern your behavior. Humans do this naturally. Instinctively, you don't have to talk about it, you don't even have to bring it to a level of consciousness, you are going to be doing threat detection. Is that not true? 

0:07:53.3 Junior: It absolutely is. So over here we have rewarded vulnerability. What does that mean? That's what happens when we perceive a safe environment, we see that our vulnerability is rewarded. So if we ask a good question, that question is taken seriously and there's an answer to it. Alternatively, if we ask a question and someone says, that's probably the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What's happening over here? That's punished vulnerability. How likely are we to ask a subsequent question? Not very. And so you can see over here, high psychological safety, in essence, that's the mechanism right here is rewarded vulnerability, which leads us to our definition of psychological safety. We believe that psychological safety is a culture of rewarded vulnerability.

0:08:42.4 Tim: Now, given... Depending on the conditions, Junior, depending on the climate, depending on the atmosphere, if it is rewarded vulnerability, you'll notice that people typically offer a performance response. I'll just underline that in yellow. And that means that you think it's safe, and so therefore you can jump in, you can eagerly participate, you can go for it, you can release your discretionary effort. So you're playing offense and you're there to add value. The objective is to add value. That is a performance response. On the other hand, if you perceive that it's not safe, you will typically offer a fear response. This thrusts you into a defensive routine. So now you're withdrawing, you're retreating, you're recoiling, you're managing personal risk. This is now about self-preservation, it's about loss avoidance. And what's the goal? If you're in a defensive routine, the goal is to survive, it's not to add value. Think about how profoundly different those response patterns are.

0:09:55.6 Junior: Yeah. So if there's one thing that I could emphasize from this episode, and maybe this series, this is the fundamental mechanism that dictates the level of psychological safety.

0:10:07.5 Tim: That's.

0:10:07.6 Junior: It's how we respond to vulnerability. And now, vulnerability might seem, again, like a soft topic. Well, it doesn't matter. Well, think about the acts of vulnerability that exist that are really consequential. Asking a question, giving a piece of feedback, challenging the status quo, trying to fit in.

0:10:29.0 Tim: Yeah.

0:10:29.3 Junior: There are a whole host, even showing up, we'll talk about inclusion today. Even showing up can be a risky activity for people. And I'm sure that we've experienced that on the receiving end, and we've also dealt punishment and reward on the giving end.

0:10:46.3 Tim: That's We've all done that.

0:10:47.6 Junior: We've all done that. We do it every single day. And so if we look back, you don't have to look back very far, you may even look back to earlier today, acts of vulnerability that you were on the receiving end and where you were on the giving end, and where there was punishment and reward and how that dictated the outcome.

0:11:07.4 Tim: Yeah.

0:11:07.8 Junior: It's hugely consequential.

0:11:09.3 Tim: It is.

0:11:09.8 Junior: And so if you are in a leadership position in some position of authority, think about how this plays out, it's very important. So if we come down to the next slide, you mentioned a performance response and a survival response. So here's a little bit deeper, in the rewarded vulnerability side, activates the pleasure or reward centres of the brain, suppresses the self-censoring instinct and releases discretionary effort. So tell me about what happens on the other side.

0:11:39.8 Tim: Well, the other side is a very different experience, Junior. It is an experience where it activates the pain centers of your brain. So neurologically, there are different centers of the brain that are activated. So there's a different biochemistry associated with a punished vulnerability and a fear response. So that's the first thing that happens. And then it triggers your self-censoring instinct. So you're gonna self-censor what you say and what you do. You're gona change that. People do that in a lot of different ways. They armour, they mask, they code switch, they modulate when they don't feel safe.

0:12:26.3 Junior: No. Well, this last one I think is particularly important. Freezes discretionary effort. So think about discretionary effort as it relates to innovation. How often does innovation happen on the end of coercion? 

0:12:40.5 Tim: Yeah.

0:12:41.4 Junior: Not often.

0:12:42.7 Tim: Almost Never.

0:12:43.5 Junior: Almost Never.

0:12:44.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:12:45.0 Junior: It happens inside the bounds of discretionary effort. So let's follow the train of logic.

0:12:51.7 Tim: Lemme say it a different way. To your point, how often does that happen when people are self-censoring? What kind of innovation do you get when people are in an environment and they're all self-censoring? 

0:13:04.4 Junior: Yeah.

0:13:05.4 Tim: It's not happening.

0:13:06.3 Junior: It's not happening. And we're gonna talk about that in the fourth episode. That's really, really fascinating as we get into innovation because it's deviation by definition, and deviation from the status quo is what an act of vulnerability. If you punish that, how likely are you to get it again? Not very. So how can you get sustainable, predictable innovation if you're punishing the very act of vulnerability necessary to deviate from the status quo? 

0:13:31.6 Tim: You can't do it.

0:13:33.4 Junior: Tell me how you're gonna do that sustainably, it's not happening.

0:13:35.1 Tim: No, you shut it down.

0:13:36.2 Junior: It's not happening.

0:13:36.8 Tim: No.

0:13:37.5 Junior: Okay. Let's move along. We wanted to throw out what psychological safety is not, and we can throw a link in the show notes to some additional resources, an article, and an e-book that we have as well. What psychological safety is not, it's not a shield from accountability, it's not coddling, it's not consensus decision-making, it's not niceness, political correctness, unearned autonomy or verbal reassurance. These are all really important. So for anyone who's having trouble getting the idea of psychological safety across the line, help them understand that this is crucial, each one of these.

0:14:15.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:14:15.8 Junior: We mean this, it's serious business.

0:14:18.2 Tim: We could spend a lot of time on each one of these, Junior, but let's just talk about the last one because this one is both tragic and funny.

0:14:28.3 Junior: Okay.

0:14:28.6 Tim: It's actually quite humorous.

0:14:29.9 Junior: Tell me why? 

0:14:30.7 Tim: Well, because verbal reassurance means that a leader goes to an organization, and I've seen this happen, and it's happened a lot recently where, let's say a CEO calls in all-hands meeting, and we all come together and the CEO says, we need to speak up culture. We need to have your honest feedback, your... We need to know exactly how you feel. If you have a contrary point of view, put it on the table. We need that, we need honest feedback, we need genuine input on everything that we do. So we're gonna create a speak-up culture, and it starts right now.

0:15:19.0 Junior: Nice.

0:15:19.4 Tim: Okay? So it starts right now, we've gotta have it. As if you could decree that into existence with mere words, but yet we've seen this again and again and again. So either the leader, when a leader does this, either the leader is culturally tone deaf or simply does not understand culture formation in an organization. The leader is responsible for conditions. So if the leader is saying this, that's disingenuous. The leader is responsible to put the conditions in place that would allow people to feel that they can engage in vulnerable behavior.

0:16:00.3 Junior: Yeah.

0:16:00.3 Tim: If they haven't done that, if those conditions don't prevail in the organization, what are you even saying? And how can you expect people to come to the table with candor and honest feedback when the conditions are not there to protect them in that behavior? That's just one pattern that we see of the seven.

0:16:21.2 Junior: Well, and the irony is that it's destructive, it's more hurtful than it is helpful. If you're going to go out and through rhetoric say, hey, everything's going to be okay, this is a safe place. And people say, well, I have evidence from the last 20 minutes and two hours and two years that that's...

0:16:40.4 Tim: That's not true.

0:16:40.6 Junior: Obviously not true.

0:16:41.8 Tim: Yeah.

0:16:42.3 Junior: So are they gonna suddenly change their behavior based on the verbal reassurance? 

0:16:46.3 Tim: No.

0:16:46.7 Junior: No, no, absolutely not. They're going to think, to your point...

0:16:50.8 Tim: They have data.

0:16:51.2 Junior: That's just disingenuous.

0:16:52.3 Tim: Yeah, don't say that.

0:16:54.4 Junior: Don't bring that here.

0:16:55.4 Tim: Yeah.

0:16:56.2 Junior: Show me, don't tell me.

0:16:57.3 Tim: Build a pattern of rewarding vulnerability, and once we see evidence and we have a new data set and we have a track record, okay, maybe I'll venture and I'll engage in some vulnerable activity with the thought that I might be rewarded this time, so I'm gonna take a chance.

0:17:18.1 Junior: Okay. So where have we been at the highest level, psychological safety, what is it? A culture of rewarded vulnerability.

0:17:24.4 Tim: Yes.

0:17:24.8 Junior: It's not a whole bunch of other stuff. A layer down, we're gonna get into the four stages of psychological safety because what we know is that psychological safety is not binary, it's not that you have it or you don't...

0:17:37.2 Tim: That's.

0:17:38.3 Junior: It occurs across four progressive stages. So tell us about that realization or that discovery of the four stages. How did you come to that because that's a crucial point in the development of the topic.

0:17:54.7 Tim: I asked one simple question, Junior, I went through the research literature beginning with, as I said, Carl Rogers, 1955, all the way up to the present. Pored through the research and I couldn't escape asking this simple question, which is, is there a pattern in the way that psychological safety increases? It didn't make sense to me that it could be an arbitrary pattern. Well, that wouldn't even be a pattern, that it would just be random, and then some teams would have high psychological safety, some teams would have maybe a medium level, some teams would have low level. Okay, great. But there's got to be a pattern in the way that it increases. And so that was the research question that drove my efforts to conduct research to understand, is there a pattern? Is there an empirical pattern in the way that it goes up on a team? 

0:18:56.2 Junior: And lo and behold, there was a pattern.

0:18:57.3 Tim: There's a pattern.

0:18:58.3 Junior: And so that pattern is what we're going to be sharing, the four stages of psychological safety. Here's what's been so fascinating to me. I remember the infancy of this idea. We have a hypothesis, there's some curiosity.

0:19:15.2 Tim: Yeah.

0:19:15.4 Junior: You're doing research, you're doing primary research, you're looking at everything that's been done before, and there's this hunch, wow, I think that there are these stages we see qualitatively and quantitatively that it starts to be born out, that this is actually true. You start working on the model, you work on the book, the book is published. What did you think was going to happen when the book was Published? 

0:19:44.4 Tim: I had no idea. [chuckle] That, I had no idea.

0:19:47.7 Junior: This needs to be said, so we're gonna say it.

0:19:50.8 Tim: Yeah. For me, it was a very important pattern that we needed to share and communicate to help people throughout organizations understand that there is a progression. It's actually a linear progression in the way that we move from stage to stage to stage. And that's important.

0:20:11.3 Junior: Yeah.

0:20:11.9 Tim: And so if you want to get better, if you want to increase the level of psychological safety, you need to pay attention to these stages, and you need to invest in them so that you can progress and get better.

0:20:24.3 Junior: So you took that message to the market and the market said, we think you're So that's the journey that we've been on over the last several years, is responding to the market saying, we think you're And now we've shown the market this is the data, this is what it says, and the market's now saying, we know you're right, and they've engaged us to help them in that journey. So that's what we've been doing institutionally for the last several years, is helping people make this journey from inclusion to learner, to contributor to challenge, bringing that into some of the biggest organizations in the world. We've done this globally. The four stages of psychological safety has been published in how many languages now? If it's not in your native language, one, you're probably not listening to this, I suppose, but it probably will be very soon.

0:21:15.3 Tim: Hopefully. Yeah.

0:21:16.3 Junior: And maybe we'll get the podcast translated eventually too. That'd be pretty cool.

0:21:19.5 Tim: Yeah, it would.

0:21:20.2 Junior: Okay. Let's jump into the model. So this is the model, the four stages of psychological safety. We will go through this not in a whole bunch of detail. If you want a little bit more detail regarding the ground we've already covered to this point, we've got an ebook called The Complete Guide to Psychological Safety that will be linked in the show notes as a free downloadable for anyone listening. So if you want a little bit more context, you want something downloadable, something you wanna print out or share, that's available. Okay. There are two axes in front of us. We've got respect on the y-axis, permission on the x-axis. Define these two for us.

0:22:00.0 Tim: So respect means it's different in each stage, but the basic respect that we have for each other as human beings. And then permission is the permission that we grant each other to interact, to collaborate, to participate in whatever we're doing together as human beings. So what we're saying is that psychological safety fundamentally lives at the intersection of these two dimensions. It is a function of these two dimensions.

0:22:31.2 Junior: So naturally, if we're at 0.00, we have no respect, we have no permission, we are excluded.

0:22:39.0 Tim: Yes.

0:22:39.9 Junior: As permission and respect increase, we're going to move this way. Up into the.

0:22:45.5 Tim: That's.

0:22:46.3 Junior: The goal is to move all the way to challenge your safety and stay there.

0:22:51.3 Tim: Yes.

0:22:51.8 Junior: But tell us about the dynamic nature of psychological safety.

0:22:56.4 Tim: It's delicate. It's dynamic. There's nothing permanent about it. It is a perishable condition that we have to invest in to maintain at all times. So the job is never done, Junior, never done.

0:23:10.3 Junior: And I'll say these two failure patterns, we're probably not gonna get too much into them in this series, but these are fascinating, paternalism and exploitation. So very quickly, paternalism, high respect, low permission. I care about you, but stay where you are and please don't touch anything.

0:23:27.0 Tim: Yeah. You're like a micromanager.

0:23:28.9 Junior: Exactly. On the other end, we've got exploitation, high permission, low respect. I'll allow you to do your job because I care about your work, but I don't care about you.

0:23:39.1 Tim: So I'm extracting value from you.

0:23:41.3 Junior: Yep. So those are the failure patterns on either side. They're dangerous.

0:23:45.1 Tim: Yes.

0:23:45.2 Junior: You probably see them all the time. So let's get into inclusion safety because that is the first stage. So what's the definition of inclusion safety? Inclusion safety satisfies the basic human need to be included, accepted, and belong. This means it's not expensive to be yourself. You are accepted for who you are, including your unique attributes and defining characteristics. So Tim, there's a sentence in here that I'd like you to take on, which is, it's not expensive to be yourself. I think this is the essence of Stage 1. So what does this mean? 

0:24:21.4 Tim: Well, I think we've all been in social situations in our lives where it has been expensive, where we felt it was socially or emotionally or psychologically, or as we said politically or economically expensive. Stage 1 inclusion safety means it's not. You can be your genuine, authentic self and you don't have to worry about withdrawing. So you're in an environment that will support that, will reward your vulnerability in being yourself.

0:24:56.8 Junior: So included, accepted, and belong. Those are three really interesting words to me. Each of them means something slightly different. Belonging is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit these days.

0:25:13.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:25:14.1 Junior: And I think that all of those point to this, it's not expensive to be yourself. If we go a layer deeper, I think that this will help us understand what we mean about not being expensive. Humanity first, walk us through this slide. What's on here and what does it mean? 

0:25:35.6 Tim: The concept is, as we've looked, as we've analyzed organizations and teams and we see those that have a high level of Stage 1 inclusion safety, we ask the question, well, how did you do that? And again, we find another pattern. And the pattern is that those teams elevate humanity as the highest loyalty and they subordinate other human characteristics. Well, all human characteristics. So they elevate humanity. That's your highest loyalty. They subordinate human characteristics. So if you look at this slide, you look at all of these human characteristics. What are these? These are demographics and psychographics and cultural attributes. Are they important? They're vitally important. These are the cherished sources of people's identity. So we're not denigrating or diminishing the importance of these characteristics, but what we're saying is that if we elevate humanity as the highest loyalty, then we can create and maintain an environment of high Stage 1 inclusion safety. If we don't, if we don't do that, if we do the opposite and we kind of turn it around and we elevate one or a combination of human characteristics and we subordinate humanity so it's no longer the highest loyalty, what happens? We sow the seeds of division. That's what happens.

0:27:11.0 Junior: So this is an interesting question for each of us to ask as we go through these, age, ancestry, disability, life stage, attributes, sexual orientation, tribe, wealth, look through these and ask the question, do I subordinate in my behavior the person's humanity to these? That's a vital question.

0:27:39.5 Tim: It Is. So think about three things. Think about bias, think about prejudice, think about discrimination. Where do those three concepts live? They live in the details of those human characteristics. That's where they are. That's where they live. And so we've got to go above that because they are in the spaces between those characteristics. So we have to go above those to humanity, elevate that, that becomes our highest loyalty, and then we can get above those things to create a deeply inclusive environment.

0:28:28.8 Junior: I Love this idea. So let's go down here. Diversity is not inclusion, diversity is a matter of makeup and composition, inclusion is a matter of intent and behavior. So this is a important point. Diversity is not inclusion, these are separate things. And as it relates to the market, as it relates to what is said, this is our stance. Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. So these distinctions are important. They become important at what interface? At the behavioral interface between you and me.

0:29:11.4 Tim: Well, let, me just say a word on that, Junior. Many organizations have made great strides to diversify their employee populations. And that's fantastic, and we're very excited about that. But they're no more inclusive as a consequence. So what's happening? We just got half the job done. We have not yet activated inclusion in the environment. So to diversify is fantastic. It's a milestone. It's progress, but we've gotta finish the job.

0:29:48.3 Junior: Well, And we're also not endorsing every method of imposed diversification. That's important to call out. So this is not a political statement, this is just acknowledging that inclusion and diversity are different and that diversity as a fact needs to be paired with inclusion as a choice in order to be effective.

0:30:11.4 Tim: That's very true.

0:30:13.3 Junior: Let's go down to the social exchange. Across each of the four stages, there is a social exchange. I do something and you do something in this relationship, inclusion in exchange for human status and the absence of harm. So this one is maybe a little different than people might think. We're saying that all you have to do in order to earn inclusion, earn is the wrong word.

0:30:41.0 Tim: Qualify.

0:30:41.3 Junior: Qualify, is be human and not present me with harm.

0:30:46.9 Tim: That's.

0:30:47.8 Junior: So as long as those two things are true, I am not just invited but obligated is the word that we would use intentionally to include you.

0:30:58.2 Tim: Yes. There's some morality in this reciprocation for Stage 1. If you're a member of the human family and you don't present the team with a threat of harm, I am morally obligated to include you. That's what we're talking about. This is the foundation. Stage 1 inclusion safety is the foundation of human interaction. It is literally the foundation upon which we build.

0:31:24.4 Junior: So the other, each stage, we'll go through these in each episode, but some are earned and some are owed.

0:31:34.2 Tim: That's.

0:31:34.8 Junior: So maybe take a guess before we go through them. Which are which? But inclusion safety is owed. That's important.

0:31:44.3 Tim: Yeah. You don't earn it.

0:31:45.5 Junior: No. And that may seem logically easy, but behaviorally, it's often not easy for people.

0:31:53.8 Tim: That's.

0:31:54.3 Junior: So think about that as you're interacting with others, your inclusion as it relates to them is an obligation. They don't have to earn it. Humanity over human characteristics.

0:32:06.3 Tim: And it should have nothing to do with the bundle of demographics and cultural characteristics that you represent.

0:32:15.2 Junior: Yeah.

0:32:15.5 Tim: Nothing to do with those things.

0:32:17.2 Junior: Yeah. So after you wrote the four stages of psychological safety, you developed a psychometric scale to measure psychological safety across each of the four stages. Inclusion safety is pretty interesting. So I just took a screenshot from the app because I wanted to show some of the distinction here. Three items from inclusion safety, I'm treated with respect, I'm accepted as a member of my team, I feel included by the people I work with. There's often disparity between these items. They're all under inclusion safety. They're looking at it through a different lens. But the reason I pulled this out is because I feel included by the people I work with is different than I am treated with respect. And I don't want people to conflate the idea of inclusivity and respect, they're different things.

0:33:10.0 Tim: Yeah.

0:33:10.9 Junior: Just because you respect someone does not mean that they will feel included by you. So that distinction, I think is lost on a lot of people. And it's been important for me too, to think about this. Well, no, I respect that person.

0:33:27.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:33:27.8 Junior: Okay. But do they perceive that they belong here? Do they perceive to be included? Maybe not.

0:33:34.3 Tim: That's because, Junior, to be included, inclusion is an active thing. It's behavioral, it's not passive. If people are being passive toward you, even though they're being nice and cordial and they're maybe even courteous, that's still not the same thing as being on the receiving end of inclusion.

0:34:02.3 Junior: Yeah. Okay. So we've talked a little bit about what inclusion safety is. We've gone through a brief definition. We've talked about the mechanism by which you improve it. Now let's get practical and tactical. So if we go to this slide, the culture transformation continuum. This is gonna help frame the behavioral components of this entire series. So in culture transformation and personal transformation, we have three main things we're looking at, head, hands, and heart. If you look at the traditional approach to culture transformation, well, tell us about that. Tell us about the traditional approach.

0:34:38.9 Tim: The traditional approach, Junior, is to begin with the head to elevate. So we're gonna spend time, we're gonna invest in awareness and understanding and appreciation. So these three things that you can see right here. This is the traditional approach to cultural transformation. So we're gonna increase your awareness and your understanding and your appreciation, for example of differences. Okay. That's fantastic. But then the heroic assumption is that if we do that, you're going to begin to behave differently, and at some point, you're going to cross a threshold of conviction and your heart's gonna change. Sadly and regrettably, what we have learned over time is that that doesn't work very well. What we have learned is that you have to jump into behavior at the same time. And that if you don't do that, you're never gonna get there. So immediately go down to behavior, jump into behavior. Why is that? This is true because of these three things, which changes last, your heart. But usually, you have to behave until you believe. And that's the sequence. So you've gotta get in, you gotta have an experience. It's gotta be experiential. It's a matter of self discovery. You have to start doing the behaviors.

0:36:10.7 Junior: So a lot of people would think that these are switched, that hands comes last. That the heart will change and then it'll change my behavior. We are saying that's actually not true, and it's been borne out I don't know how many times. So let's get practical. What do we do practically speaking to become more inclusive? That's what we're going to get to. To emphasize the point in personal transformation, which of these three changes last? This is a question that you can ask your institution, it's a question you can ask your people to see what they think.

0:36:45.4 Tim: Yeah.

0:36:46.3 Junior: And most people are gonna say what? The hands, behavior, actions. That's gonna change last because we need to move through awareness, appreciation, understanding, and then we're just gonna get there.

0:36:57.5 Tim: Yeah. Not True.

0:36:58.8 Junior: Not true. I'm gonna, yeah. Not true.

0:37:02.0 Tim: Not true. [laughter] Not true. Heart. The heart changes last. It is the lag indicator every time.

0:37:09.5 Junior: Yeah. Okay. Let's talk about this mechanism, model and reward. We set a culture of rewarded vulnerability. What does that mean? It means that we have to reward vulnerability, but there has to be vulnerability in the environment to reward. That's where the model piece comes in.

0:37:31.3 Tim: That's.

0:37:32.1 Junior: So let's say that you're in an organization that's consistently punished vulnerability for a really long time. We don't like candid questions. We don't like candid feedback, we want you to just do your job and stay in your lane. It's unlikely that we're gonna get a lot of vulnerability 'cause we've already smothered it.

0:37:48.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:37:48.6 Junior: We've already suffocated it.

0:37:50.2 Tim: Yeah.

0:37:50.4 Junior: And it might pop up here and there, but we're not gonna get much. That's where model comes in from the perspective of the leader. Leaders have to model vulnerability. What does that mean? The leader needs to say, I don't know. The leader needs to ask questions. The leader needs to admit ignorance and the leader needs to show vulnerability across each of these stages.

0:38:14.3 Tim: The leader needs to talk about their mistakes. The leader needs to apologize. The leader needs to ask for help.

0:38:20.2 Junior: Yep. That's That's the modeling piece.

0:38:24.4 Tim: But, Junior, let's think about how important this is. The leader has a first mover obligation. If the leader doesn't go first, who's gonna go first? Can we expect that someone else is gonna go first? No. The leader has to go first. The leader occupies positional power. So by virtue of their position, they need to go first.

0:38:46.9 Junior: So they're modeling acts of vulnerability by going first. They're saying, I don't know. They're admitting mistakes. And then as they do that, the environment says, oh, I guess that's okay for me to do too. Maybe I'll venture a question. So when that question finally comes, what do we do? We reward that question...

0:39:07.3 Tim: That's.

0:39:08.0 Junior: Heavily. Thank you for asking that question. That's a salient question. That's something that we need to figure out. I don't know the answer to that, or here's the answer, and let's work together on it. We want to reward. Why? Because we want more questions. Because what do questions precede? Answers. And what are answers often? Performance, innovation.

0:39:28.3 Tim: Yep.

0:39:29.0 Junior: Those are the things we want. So these are the two ways to get that.

0:39:32.8 Tim: But let me just say, Junior, how fundamental this is. This is the primary mechanism for culture formation for every team, every organization, every social collective, to model and reward vulnerability. And there is no other mechanism. There's no other. There's no shortcut. There's no workaround. There's no backdoor. This is the mechanism for culture formation. That's how fundamental it is.

0:40:00.3 Junior: So to cap off this piece of logic, people are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than think their way into a new way of acting. So let's talk about acting our way into a new way of thinking. Here's one. Share your story, hear their story. This is a behavior that comes from the four stages Behavioral Guide, also available for download on the site. It's a list of a lot of behaviors, 100 and some odd.

0:40:25.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:40:25.8 Junior: Across the four stages that will help us model vulnerability. So tell me about this one, share your story, hear their story. What does it mean and how does it improve inclusion safety? 

0:40:35.3 Tim: Well, think about the vulnerable behavior that you're engaging in. You're sharing about your life, who you are, your story, where you came from. That's vulnerable activity. If you do that, you're modeling vulnerability. And then, if that is rewarded by others, that means they're rewarding your vulnerable behavior. So this is a concrete example of a vulnerable behavior that you can engage in.

0:41:04.4 Junior: Yeah. And the order is important. Share your story, hear their story.

0:41:09.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:41:10.3 Junior: It's not enough often just to go up to somebody and say, hey, tell me all about yourself. You may have to...

0:41:16.3 Tim: You go first.

0:41:16.7 Junior: Tell them about yourself first.

0:41:19.2 Tim: Yeah.

0:41:19.8 Junior: Hey, here's this piece about me. Hey, this is interesting. Hey, let me tell you a little bit about this. And then, what? They'll see, okay, this is interesting. This is okay. I can share something about myself. Here's a little bit about me. And as you do that, you're building rapport. You're modeling, you're rewarding vulnerability. So when they start to share, what do you do? You press the reward button as much as you possibly can. Thank you for sharing that. That is so fascinating to me. I see how that ties into this. I can see how that might be the case. Oh, it makes so much sense why you would see this thing this way now. Now, I finally understand.

0:41:55.3 Tim: Reminds me of the bumper sticker, Junior. I love change, you go first.

0:42:00.3 Junior: Yeah. Yeah, it's true. You can't just ask for it.

0:42:02.2 Tim: No, you gotta go first and you model. You gotta model. You gotta do it first.

0:42:06.4 Junior: Here's number two. Ask twice as much as you tell. DJ Kaufman, wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk. Many of us prefer to talk, we don't prefer to listen.

0:42:22.2 Tim: [laughter] That's right.

0:42:22.8 Junior: That's why this one is so effective. Ask twice as much as you tell.

0:42:26.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:42:27.2 Junior: One of the things that I found to be really effective in a coaching scenario is to literally document your ratio, what you think your ratio is for the day.

0:42:34.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:42:34.6 Junior: You get done and you say, what was I today? Was I a 5:1, tell to ask? Was I a 10:1? Was I a 1:5? And see, try to get that ratio to 1:2.

0:42:47.0 Tim: Yeah.

0:42:47.3 Junior: Tell to ask. Ask twice as much.

0:42:49.5 Tim: As you tell.

0:42:50.3 Junior: Put that on a piece of paper in a meeting. Ask and cross out, tell. No, bad. Stop.

0:42:57.8 Tim: That's right.

0:42:58.3 Junior: You need to not do that. And we find ourselves doing that, myself included. Often, I'm in a meeting, I'm just saying things. Here's this point. Here's this point. And what happens when you do that? Everyone else turns off. They're not gonna be as willing to engage.

0:43:14.3 Tim: But when you ask, it catalyzes inquiry, it changes everything. It changes the entire dynamic.

0:43:19.3 Junior: Yeah. So that's number two. Number three, express gratitude and appreciation. Albert Schweitzer, at times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. What do you think about this quote? 

0:43:40.4 Tim: Yeah, I love it. There's a magic in gratitude and appreciation, Junior, that comes in no other way. You're transferring energy. That appreciation is just something that you can't do different, as I said, in another way. So this is a way to reward vulnerability that is so powerful.

0:44:08.0 Junior: I remember several years ago, there was some event I had written a thank you card, just a note, quick handwritten note to express thanks to this person. And I found it in a drawer like two years later. I never sent it. Had postage on it.

0:44:26.8 Tim: Really? 

0:44:27.7 Junior: I never dropped it off.

0:44:28.8 Tim: Yeah.

0:44:30.3 Junior: I had spent the previous time knowing that I was grateful. They never knew.

0:44:35.3 Tim: They didn't know.

0:44:36.3 Junior: I felt so bad. And it made me think that to that other person, it was as if I had never written the note.

0:44:44.4 Tim: That's right. Yeah.

0:44:45.9 Junior: They never know.

0:44:46.8 Tim: Yeah.

0:44:47.3 Junior: They don't know that I did write it and it's sitting in a drawer. And so that makes me think about this principle of expressing gratitude. It's not enough to feel grateful, you have to express that gratitude.

0:45:00.7 Tim: You have to do it.

0:45:00.8 Junior: You have to do it. So I love the quote because it says, our own light goes out. At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Often that spark is gratitude. So has this ever happened to you where gratitude and appreciation have gone a long way, either on the giving end or the receiving end? 

0:45:26.3 Tim: Oh, it goes such a long way, Junior. I don't know. I think humans respond to gratitude and appreciation as strongly as anything else.

0:45:35.8 Junior: Yeah. I know for me, that's a massive lever.

0:45:38.3 Tim: Yeah.

0:45:38.8 Junior: It's huge. If someone just calls me or shoots me a text and says, hey, thanks for this. Or, hey, I noticed this. Thank you. I appreciate it.

0:45:46.8 Tim: Yeah.

0:45:47.2 Junior: That makes such a difference. And so my invitation would be to everyone listening, if there's someone that's top of mind, pull out your phone, shoot them a text, just say thank you.

0:45:56.7 Tim: Yeah.

0:45:57.2 Junior: See what happens.

0:45:57.7 Tim: Yeah.

0:45:58.3 Junior: I've had beautiful, wonderful conversations on the back end of just a simple thank you because that neutralizes the territory, neutralizes the ground.

0:46:07.7 Tim: Yeah.

0:46:07.8 Junior: Gratitude can nullify a whole bunch of bad stuff that's happened in the past.

0:46:12.1 Tim: That's true.

0:46:12.8 Junior: So I think that this one is especially, especially powerful. Okay. So those are the three behaviors. How do we move from theory to practice as it relates to inclusion? Share your story, hear their story. Ask twice as much as you tell. Express gratitude and appreciation. Those are just three. There are dozens and dozens of these in the Behavioral Guide.

0:46:33.8 Tim: Yeah, I think there's like 35 in the Behavioral Guide, Junior.

0:46:37.2 Junior: And in the Complete Guide to Psychological Safety, we've got a lot of what we've talked about today, some stuff that we haven't. So if you're interested in additional context, if you haven't seen this e-book, go ahead and download it. We will make it available in the show notes. And then a final request as we kind of wrap up today, we would be really interested in knowing what you think about this format, about the visuals, about the discussion. And we would love to see in the comments your biggest takeaway. Was there a light bulb moment? A question that you thought was particularly interesting, something that you're going to work on? We would love to see that feedback in the comments so that we can tune future episodes, so that we can answer questions in this format. There's a whole bunch that we can do based on the feedback from the audience.

0:47:25.3 Tim: Love to hear that feedback.

0:47:26.6 Junior: Our entire goal is to make this valuable for you. This is not for us, this conversation, although I enjoy it very much, this is for all of our listeners and our audience out there. And so I've enjoyed today's conversation. We've got three more episodes in this series. What would you like to share as we wrap up? 

0:47:46.3 Tim: That Stage 1, inclusion safety, to summarize, is the foundation of human interaction and this is what we need to put in place first.

0:47:57.4 Junior: Excellent. With that, everyone, we will catch you in episode two for learner safety. Stay tuned. Bye-bye.


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Episode Transcript

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