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

Stage One: Inclusion Safety

In this week on the Culture by Design podcast, Tim and Junior introduce the first episode of a four-part series on The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety. This week's topic? Stage One: Inclusion Safety. In this value-packed, hour-long conversation, Tim and Junior dive deep into questions like: How does inclusion relate to diversity and equity? Is interaction the same thing as connection? And what can we do to foster inclusion safety in our cultural spheres?

Download the episode resources.

Download The Guide

Episode Show Notes

This series is based on Timothy R. Clark’s book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation.

You can purchase your copy here: The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

Or download a free excerpt here: The 4 Stages Book Excerpt

What are The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety? (3:00) Tim and Junior give an overview of the concept as a universal pattern that spans all cultures, demographics, and needs.

The social exchange for inclusion safety (15:45). Every stage is reciprocal, but inclusion safety is different: to qualify for inclusion safety all you have to be is human and harmless.

Inclusion in the context of diversity and equity (22:40). In the DEI space, inclusion sits very closely with diversity and equity. But what do their relationships look like?

Inclusion safety and behavioral families (00:00). Inclusion safety behaviors exist in behavioral families, some of which are asking, greeting, and validating. Junior shares his personal experiences as a dishwasher.

Interaction is not connection (37:23). Oftentimes, we assume that just because we’re interacting with another human that that’s an automatic connection. Tim and Junior discuss why that’s not the case.

Bonding vs. bridging (41:10). Our natural affinities induce bonding behaviors: it’s easy to connect with these people. But when we don’t have natural affinity we need to engage in bridging behaviors.

Inclusion is a prerequisite for innovation (47:15). While it’s probably uncomfortable, the dividends of inclusion are worth it.

Episode Transcript

0:00:02.3 Producer: Hey, Culture by Design listeners, it's Freddie, one of the producers at the podcast. Thanks again for joining us. This week is the start of a four-part series on the four stages of psychological safety. Today Tim and Junior sit down to tackle stage one inclusion safety, and you're in for a real treat. In the subsequent weeks, we will tackle stage two learner safety, stage three contributor safety, and stage four challenger safety in their own individual episodes. Inclusion safety is the foundation of psychological safety, and I'm excited to dive into this episode where Tim and Junior really go deep on the topic. As Junior will mention later in the episode, you can skip ahead on this series by picking up the book, The Four Stages of Psychological Safety. I'll include links to find the book in this episode's show notes at leaderfactor.com. As always, thank you for your support and your reviews. I hope you enjoy this episode of the Culture by Design podcast.

0:01:04.1 Junior: Welcome everyone to Culture by Design, a podcast by Leader Factor. We're back with you today to talk about an issue that is both near and dear to our hearts. Tim and I are going to be having a conversation about stage one inclusion safety.

0:01:20.9 Junior: Many of you are familiar with the four stages of psychological safety, and perhaps some of you aren't. A lot of the content that we'll be treating today comes from the book published by Tim himself, The Four Stages of Psychological Safety. So if you haven't had a chance to read the book, we would highly recommend it. It will give you great context for this four-part series that we'll be doing on the Culture by Design podcast about each of the four stages. Reading is an interesting medium, isn't it, Tim? Yeah, it is. We get to treat issues with a little bit more detail, a little bit more specificity than we can in articles or books. So we wanted to take the opportunity to dive a little bit deeper into each of the stages. And we've also learned a lot in recent years, haven't we?

0:02:09.3 Tim: We have. Yeah, so it gives us depth or the opportunity to go into more depth and it's free flowing. So you and I don't know exactly where this is going to go, but we have an outline. There are things that we want to cover. Well and just for context, we should let everyone know that you're the vice president of product, your leader factor, and you and your team build the technology and are responsible for building the technology platform. And so it's interesting how we operationalize concepts and processes and methodologies. And so now today we get to talk about a fundamental concept. So I'm excited for this conversation.

0:02:51.8 Junior: And one, as you mentioned, that's practical, not just theoretical or academic. And perhaps more importantly, it's practical. You can know a lot about this stage. You can know a lot about what it means, but if you don't embody it, you won't be as successful as you could be, certainly.

0:03:08.0 Tim: That's right. And when we talk about psychological safety, it's important to understand that there's been widespread interest in the concept for many years, but that interest has given way to demand for the condition. That's a very different thing. It's one thing to be interested in the concept. It's a very different thing to say, I demand the condition. At that point, psychological safety goes from being a concept to an applied discipline. So if you're a leader, if you're a manager in any organization, if you're in business, if you're in healthcare, if you're in education, if you're a nonprofit, if you're in a voluntary association, if you're at home with a family, then psychological safety becomes something that you need to do, something that you need to foster, something that you need to cultivate. It's not a concept anymore. It's an applied discipline. So the how becomes important. It's not just what is it, but so how do you do that?

0:04:08.2 Junior: So stick around all the way to the end of today's conversation, because we'll be discussing what inclusion really is, what it's not. We'll be talking about how to apply it, how to get better, how to take this to your organization, to your team, and to your life. So let's start out with just treating the definition. What is psychological safety? So Tim, answer that question in five words, if you wouldn't mind.

0:04:31.7 Tim: Yeah, I think I can answer in five words. Our definition is that psychological safety is a culture of rewarded vulnerability. So a culture of rewarded vulnerability.

0:04:45.5 Junior: So psychological safety has a lot to do with culture.

0:04:48.2 Tim: It does. It's the centerpiece of culture. It's the heart of culture. We believe that. Yeah. It's the central indicator. It's in all my years of studying culture and researching culture, there's no better proxy indicator for culture than psychological safety. Nothing even comes close. If we have an accurate measure of your baseline level of psychological safety, we know a whole lot about how you're doing as a team. We know a whole lot about what the group dynamic is, how you interact. It covers a lot of ground.

0:05:26.7 Junior: I love the definition because it defines the mechanism by which psychological safety increases or decreases, which is the idea of rewarded or punished vulnerability. And so the opposite of rewarded vulnerability is punished vulnerability. So if you want to decrease the levels of psychological safety in an organization or a team or any social unit, what do you do? You punish vulnerability. Yeah. And that's helpful to look at. Just turn it down. Just turn it down. That's right.

0:05:56.7 Tim: Yeah, just turn it down or turn it up. Now I know that's a little crass and it's a little oversimplified, but it is the mechanism. You can turn it down or turn it up based on that thing.

0:06:07.4 Junior: So acts of vulnerability, those occur all day, every day for each one of us as we interact with other people. As you like to say, human interaction is a vulnerable activity. And I think we've all felt that. Think about the last 24 hours and the acts of vulnerability that each of you has engaged in. It could be asking a question, pointing out a mistake, giving some constructive criticism. It could be introducing yourself. It could be as simple as showing up and being somewhere.

0:06:43.4 Tim: Junior, maybe, yeah, maybe a good way to look at it is ask the opposite question, which is can you interact without exposing yourself to some level of vulnerability?

0:06:53.7 Tim: Can you interact with other human beings in any social collective, in any setting, in any organization? Can you do that? The answer is clearly no, you can't. So as soon as you engage, as soon as you dock, as soon as you land with other humans, by definition you've begun to engage in a vulnerable activity, which is just interacting. It's that simple every day.

0:07:22.9 Junior: So we're going to be talking about stage one inclusion safety and the vulnerability associated with that stage, how we reward it, how we punish it, what the mechanism is.

0:07:33.6 Junior: But if we back up just a hair and talk about the four stages before we jump into stage number one, these four stages outline the natural progression of human need. So Tim, what was the genesis for the model? How did you come upon the four stages? Did you choose the number four and try and shoehorn in four stages? How did this work?

0:07:57.1 Tim: No, that's not how it works. Well, I started studying culture years ago when I was doing my PhD at Oxford and my doctoral dissertation was a comparative study of British and Korean cultures. So I've been studying culture for a long time. Very similar culture. Yeah. Yeah. It's actually really quite different in a lot of ways. And so as part of that, one stream of research was psychological safety that goes back to 1965, right? With Warren Bennis and Edgar Shine at MIT and then William Kahn at Boston University and Amy Edmondson at Harvard Business School and other contributors along the way. And so as I went through, did a literature review and looked at all the empirical research that had been done in this area, I asked a simple question. First of all, here's the premise. Psychological safety is not a binary proposition. That's pretty clear. It's not something that you either have or don't have. It's a matter of degree. Well, if that's true, then there must be a pattern in the way that it increases. It cannot be arbitrary. That doesn't make any sense. There has to be a pattern. And so what do researchers do?

0:09:21.3 Tim: Researchers are in the pattern recognition business. And so I set about to answer that question. What is the pattern in the way that psychological safety increases? And so after years and years of qualitative research based on the method and cultural anthropology that we call participant observation or ethnographic research, the pattern was coming clear. And the pattern was that there was this linear progression through four successive stages. And you could see it. You could see it again and again and again. It didn't matter what setting you were in, what organization you were in. You could see the pattern. When people came together, if you watch them carefully, what was the first thing that they were trying to do? They were trying to connect. They were trying to be included. They were trying to be valued. They were trying to be esteemed, appreciated. So you could see that they were trying to have this need satisfied. It was their, yeah, do I belong? Am I valued? Am I included? Do I have a sense of connection? And you could see them going about trying to satisfy this need before anything else. Occasionally, there were outliers here and there that didn't seem to care about that, but that was the exception.

0:10:49.9 Tim: The vast majority of people were going about trying to satisfy that need to be included, accepted, and to just have that sense of belonging. Absolutely clear. Then we kept observing, watching, interviewing, and what did people do after that? They went about trying to learn. Why did they do that? Well, first, a couple of reasons. For their own growth and development, learning in many ways is its own reward. That's number one. Number two, it precedes contribution. You can't contribute anything of value if you haven't learned anything. So there was a natural sequence where learning preceded contribution. So people know intuitively, I need to learn. I need to understand how things work so that I can learn and grow and develop as a human being. I have this innate need to learn and grow and develop and progress. So we would see people trying to satisfy that need. That's stage two, learner safety. Then we go to stage three. Stage three is contributor safety. It's the companion of learner safety, stage two. So now we go to contributor safety, which means that you are given an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. You learn something and now you want to create and deliver value.

0:12:17.9 Tim: Do you know how deep the human need is to make a difference, to do meaningful work, to have what you do matter? That's profoundly deep. That's stage three. I want to satisfy that need to make a meaningful contribution and that translates into an appropriate level of autonomy and control and role clarity and guidance and support. That's all stage three. Do I get a chance to do something that matters? Do I have an opportunity to create value? That's all stage three. Then finally we go to stage four. Stage four is the culminating stage, which we call challenger safety. Challenger safety is the last stage. What it means is that you feel safe to challenge the status quo without fear of, again, negative consequences. But what are they when you get to stage four? When you challenge the status quo, what are you worried about? Why do people get so skittish and so apprehensive and so worried about challenging the status quo? Because the stakes are high, right, Junior? They're higher up the ladder. So let me think about what they are.

0:13:35.4 Junior: It could be your entire career. It could be your career. It could be who people think you were or are. Reputation. Oh my goodness. The effects of punished vulnerability at challenger safety are very far reaching.

0:13:50.7 Tim: Just think about what's on the line. Credibility, reputation, status, career. Are you kidding?

0:13:56.6 Junior: Why would you ever do that? Which is why so many people are reticent to engage in challenger behaviors. It's also fascinating to see what's at stake if you don't challenge. Maybe those same things are at stake if you don't.

0:14:16.4 Tim: They are in a different way though, right?

0:14:18.6 Junior: In a different way, precisely. You look at some of the instances, the tragedies that have happened over the years when people haven't spoken up because they, in an effort to preserve those very things, lost them. That's right. Perhaps in a way that was more costly. That's right.

0:14:35.6 Tim: Think about that. Those are the stages. Just a thumbnail sketch of how the stages work. Stage one, inclusion safety. Stage two, learner safety. Stage three, contributor safety. Finally, stage four, challenger safety. Now, I should mention this too. Stage four, challenger safety. Why is this so important? This is where we innovate. Innovation happens in an environment under conditions where we are able to challenge the status quo and dissent and disagree and creative abrasion and all of that behavior, all of that challenging behavior gets rewarded. How important is that? If you don't have those conditions, you can't ever create an incubator of innovation. There's no way you can do that. Yet it's the lifeblood of growth for really every organization. That's just a little bit about the stages, but we're going to dive deep into stage one, aren't we?

0:15:31.6 Junior: Yeah. If you want to learn more about the subsequent stages, we'll be doing episodes on those as well. Also in the works for a future episode is we'll talk about the failure patterns, paternalism, and exploitation. If you want to get a head start, go read the book. Stage one, inclusion safety. We want to feel included. We want to feel like we belong. For each of the stages, we outline social exchanges. I want to spend a minute on the social exchange for inclusion safety. Inside these social exchanges, I give you something and you give me something, or I do something for you and you do something for me. They're reciprocal. The social exchange for inclusion safety is different from the rest. Tim, can you explain what the social exchange is and why it's so important?

0:16:23.3 Tim: It's extremely simple for stage one, but simple does not mean easy. Don't confuse the two. The social exchange for stage one inclusion safety is that I will include you into... I will invite you into my society and I will include you. What do you need to do? All you need to do is be human, so you have status as a member of the human family. That's number one. Number two, don't threaten us with harm. We who are in this social collective, this team, wherever you may be, that's it. The social exchange for stage one is a human right. We give stage one inclusion safety the status of a human right. It's not something you earn. It's something that you are owed by virtue of your humanity. It's very simple. It's an entitlement. It's an entitlement. We use that word carefully and deliberately.

0:17:25.9 Junior: We aren't entitled to too many things, are we? But this is one of them.

0:17:29.2 Tim: This is one of them. It's very true.

0:17:33.7 Junior: If that social exchange is so simple and we admit that it's not easy, why is it not easy? Why do we make it difficult or why is it difficult?

0:17:43.7 Tim: Because the universal condition of the human family is insecurity. That's why. What do we do when we feel insecure? We exclude. As I say in the book, Junior, technologically we're advanced as a species. Sociologically we're primitive in many ways. We cannot point to cumulative progress over the centuries, over the millennia. We're sociologically primitive. We struggle with this. What do we do? We come up with junk theories of superiority. We're constantly sowing the seeds of division. We take human characteristics, very interesting, human characteristics like demographics, age, and gender, and education, and socioeconomic status, and religious affiliation, and political persuasion. I mean, we go on and on and on. All the demographics, all the psychographics, all the cultural attributes, and we elevate those from time to time. Actually not from time to time. We do it a lot. All the time. We elevate one or a combination of those human characteristics above humanity, above the human family, above loyalty to humanity. As the highest loyalty, we will elevate one or a combination of those human characteristics. As soon as you do that, what happens? You create division. People are making claims of superiority based on demographics, and psychographics, and cultural attributes.

0:19:14.6 Tim: That's ridiculous. There are no grounds for that. The only justifiable grounds for exclusion would be what? The threat of harm. Harm. The threat of harm. That's it. All the other characteristics, and attributes, and traits that we have as members of the human family, they're very important. We acknowledge that. But when it comes to inclusion, they're arbitrary distinctions. That's what they are. They're arbitrary distinctions. You can't take any of those differences and say, well, I'm better than you.

0:19:46.6 Junior: Yeah. What's the Frederick Douglass quote? I know of no right of race superior to the right of humanity. Is that close? Is it at least close?

0:19:54.1 Tim: You got it. I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity. Take out race. Race is your placeholder in his statement. In this statement he gave in 1869 in Boston, when he gave this speech called the Composite Nation, which is brilliant. Take the word race out, so there's a placeholder, and replace it, fill in the blank, with any other human characteristic. I know of no rights of blank superior to the rights of humanity. So the great social reformer, Frederick Douglass, what's he doing? He's articulating the governing principle of inclusion. He gets it. He's right on.

0:20:40.3 Junior: It's right on. He's right on. It's puzzling to me that we've advanced so much technologically and not so much socially. We figured out fire, we figured out electricity, and yet this is so fundamental a need. That's what's puzzling to me. It would seem to me that humans of thousands of years ago lived the same condition socially that we do today. Same needs. It would stand to reason that thousands of years ago you show up around the fire and you're looking around like, am I going to be included here? You think they have that question?

0:21:17.0 Tim: It's just a little different setting, but the dynamics were the same.

0:21:21.0 Junior: They probably did. They had to have been. Yeah, yeah. You know they were.

0:21:25.2 Tim: Yeah, sure. The Druids were getting together in Southern England and they were having a little campfire and they were thinking about the same thing. What were they doing? Threat detection. Do I fit in? Do I belong? Am I accepted? Am I valued? Can I connect? Am I appreciated? It's the same calculus. Come on.

0:21:43.2 Junior: It is the same calculus and we all experience it every day. That's part of what I love about this topic is that no one is outside of this. You mentioned that Thoreau could go to the pond, but how long did he stay?

0:21:56.8 Tim: Yeah. What was it? A year or so? Two years, I think.

0:22:00.1 Tim: He'd had enough. Yeah, he'd had enough. I mean, he was looking at the flora and the fauna and making sketches and making... That's great. I love his book and he went to live deliberately and that's wonderful, but guess what? He got bored. Not only did he get bored, but he was in need of human interaction. He was in need of belonging and connection. He went back to civilization. That's what happened.

0:22:27.7 Junior: We need it. We need each other.

0:22:29.3 Tim: We need it. We need each other. We long to belong. We are biologically, spiritually, emotionally driven to connect.

0:22:40.8 Junior: I want to shift gears and talk about two letters of the alphabet that often find themselves next to I in inclusion. One is D and the other is E, diversity and equity. We often see those three together, D, E, and I. There are some other ones too, but we're looking at this category. We're putting these words together and we're trying to figure out what do they have to do with each other? I thought it would be interesting to explore that for a few minutes and talk about the relationship between inclusion and diversity, inclusion and equity. Name your word, but there are some interesting relationships between those. So diversity, what do you think about that and its relationship to inclusion?

0:23:25.2 Tim: Diversity is a fact. It's something that it just exists. Diversity means difference. The differences exist among people, cognitive differences, emotional differences, psychographic differences, demographic differences, all kinds of differences. It's compositional. Diversity is a matter of composition. It's a matter of makeup. It's just a fact. So we can start with that. So we have diversity. Diversity is also a resource. It's an asset. But it lies fallow unless it's activated, unless someone can harvest the benefit and the blessings of diversity. It doesn't happen automatically. Because what did we say goes back to our premise. Human interaction is a vulnerable activity. If that's true and you have all this diversity and there's the possibility that your vulnerable behavior might be punished instead of rewarded, then much of that diversity, the potential of that diversity, the value of that diversity, it doesn't come out. It's dormant. It's dormant. It's unmined gold. Yeah, it's unmined. So how do we draw it out? How do you mine the gold? How do you mine the gold?

0:24:51.8 Tim: And that brings us to inclusion.

0:24:53.6 Junior: So inclusion unlocks it.

0:24:55.5 Tim: It does. It unleashes the power of diversity. Now this is one thing that I've seen, Junior, and we've talked about this before. Many, many organizations have made all kinds of progress to diversify their employee populations. They made great strides, laudable progress, but they're no more inclusive as a result. So they didn't finish the job. They got maybe half the job done. To finish the job is to create a deeply inclusive environment. Well how do you do that? Well that becomes a matter of belief and behavior at this point. So we have our composition, but now we need behavior to unlock and unleash the diversity that exists among us. And this takes us back to inclusion safety. And it really does go all the way down to the ground to behavior. You either are or are not engaging in behaviors that create inclusion safety as a natural consequence. We can philosophize about it forever, but ultimately there are behaviors along with genuine intent and good faith that lead to, that nourish inclusion safety or not. Can I give you some examples? Please. So based on our research, we identified behavioral families. Like these are families, these are buckets, these are categories of behavior that people do or don't do.

0:26:32.8 Tim: And by the way, I said before, it's the behavior, but it's also the intent behind the behavior. It's the, you got to have good faith. You've got to be genuine in your motivation. So there are 10 behavioral families that create, that lead to inclusion as a natural consequence. So I'll just go through them briefly. Here's the first one, asking. Asking is the first behavioral family. So think about asking, just asking. What does asking do? If you ask someone, another person, something, you ask a question to them, of them, and it's done with genuine intent. You've got clean motivation. What does that do? You're engaging them. You're validating them. You're drawing them in. It creates inclusion as a natural byproduct. Isn't that interesting? That's the behavioral family number one, just asking.

0:27:33.7 Junior: I think about my own life and I think about how powerful that is and how powerful it is when it's not there. I've had some conversations recently where the ask, tell ratio has been one-sided. I won't tell you why. You can really feel that asking unlocks. When someone asks me a question, I know it makes such a difference to just open up and feel like, okay, this person in front of me is taking interest. They care. I feel a little bit more like I belong here.

0:28:09.1 Tim: As you said, Junior, and this is something that listeners, you can reflect on, what is your tell to ask ratio? Do you need to shift? Just reflect on that. Powerful question. It's a profound question. This is behavioral family number one, just asking the emotional and social and psychological power of questions to validate and include others. That's number one. We could go on forever just on that one, Junior. We could. We've got nine more. We've got nine more behavioral families. Here's the second one, greeting. Greeting behaviors.

0:28:53.2 Tim: Just saying hi. Think about that. We could talk about this for a long time. Just choosing to greet or not greet and then how you greet and when you greet and how often you greet. It's amazing. That's greeting. That's behavioral family number two. I'll just go through the others. Inviting. That's behavioral family number three. Helping, joining, listening, protecting, serving, summarizing. 10 behavioral families. These are behaviors that we engage in or we don't and we do with good faith or we don't that create inclusion safety or we don't. It comes down to the ground to behaviors. It's just so interesting when you start to look at it through this lens, you identify these behavioral families and then you watch, you observe, you perceive, you see what people are doing.

0:29:53.3 Junior: Yeah, it's true. I have a PhD in dish service that I earned when I was 17. Worked as a busboy at a restaurant. The greeting one struck me when you mentioned that and I thought back to that experience. I don't know why that popped into mind, but it was fascinating to look at human interaction as a busboy. You're the lowest on the totem pole. Yeah. No status? No, you have no status. Okay, but let me ask you a question.

0:30:20.8 Tim: Did status matter?

0:30:22.4 Junior: Status mattered. Okay. Status mattered. Here's why. Status mattered to the guests and it mattered to the kitchen as well. What I found is that those who wanted to include, those who cared, those who were perceptive, all they had to do was greet and it made such a difference in my day. Those who pretended like you weren't there, like I'm two feet away from you, I'm helping your table. But you're invisible. But I'm invisible somehow. Somehow. I'm not sure how. But that was a fascinating example to me of some of these behaviors and something that we need to pay attention to as we go throughout our lives day to day. There are people, real humans, on the end of all of these things that we do every day. And how quick are we to disregard them, to ignore them, and to ignore something as simple as greeting. Hi, how are you? How's your day? That can go a long way with people personally, professionally. So let's not forget that.

0:31:25.8 Tim: Yeah. Now think about the fact that we initiate these corporate wide initiatives to create a more inclusive environment. And that's wonderful. But ultimately, and we can communicate about it, and we can train about it, and we can measure about it, we can do a lot of things. But ultimately, we have to go back down to the level of behavior and we have to model and then reward these behaviors.

0:31:58.2 Junior: Yeah. I want to put a pin in this part of the conversation, talk about equity for a second, then come back to where we are. So equity, we talked about diversity, that diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. Mm-hmm. Equity, what does equity have to do with inclusion? It looks like to me, the more I think about it, that it has to do with whether or not our inclusion and those behaviors that you mentioned are arbitrary or preferential, or if they are universal and equitable. That's right. If we treat everyone the same way every time from an inclusion perspective based on their humanity and based on the absence of the threat of harm, am I close to the target here?

0:32:45.1 Tim: Yeah, I think that's it. Equity is the one of the three terms that is least understood because it's an ambiguous term and we're not going to clarify it for everyone here because it has different meanings, especially as we draw distinctions between equality and equity. So for example, a very common conceptualization is that equality means that you're in the same place going in and equity means you're in the same place coming out. In other words, equality of results. So some people define it that way, but that raises all kinds of questions. I don't want to get into a philosophical discussion about that, but here's what I would say about equity. Just think about the fact that it really focuses on being fair and impartial. That goes back to what you said, Junior, what does that mean or what does it imply? It means being consistent in the way that you treat people and that you are agnostic to their intersectionality. They are a bundle of demographics and psychographics and cultural attributes. Every single person is. Every human on the planet is and you're different from them and the next person and the next person. Whatever equity means, you're going to treat them fairly and impartially and with respect and with dignity in a consistent way, regardless of the bundle or the constellation that they represent.

0:34:23.5 Tim: That has no bearing on the way that you're going to treat them.

0:34:28.3 Junior: It would be agnostic, not that we wouldn't be sensitive to the fact that people come from everywhere and some people come from deficit positions. It's that we treat everyone, regardless of from where they came, with that same level of respect and understanding and curiosity and doing those behaviors that you mentioned.

0:34:53.9 Tim: Yeah, well, and it goes back to what you said, Junior, before, which is it's a human right. Inclusion safety is a human right. And when you meet someone, you don't know, you don't know the challenges of their lives. You don't know their anguish. You don't know their trauma. You don't know their hardships. You don't know their adversity. You don't know that most of the trials that people suffer are invisible. What do they deserve from you? They deserve that fair treatment. They deserve that kindness. They deserve that inclusion, regardless of who they are. Now, again, to your point, which is very important, you're going to be perceptive of who they are and you're going to try to gain as much contextual understanding of who they are, but it shouldn't change the fundamental approach that you take as you interact with them as a human being.

0:35:57.0 Junior: So as we think about those three words, diversity, equity, and inclusion, let's understand the importance of inclusion and the role that it plays in the context of those other two. It unlocks, it's an accelerant, it's a lever, and without it, we're not going to get very far. We're not going to get there.

0:36:16.1 Tim: So organizations often stumble here. They keep hitting the wall because in order to really get to a deeply inclusive environment and be able to sustain it, you have to make a commitment, both personal and institutional, that humanity is your highest loyalty and you will subordinate all other human characteristics. If you don't make that commitment, then something is going to hang you up and before long, you will be subscribing to some junk theory of superiority. This is what we do. So in order to clear the decks, in order to disavow all of that nonsense about these superiority claims and these junk theories that we come up with on a regular basis, the only way to do that is to embrace that loyalty of humanity as the highest loyalty and then you can actually install inclusion safety as the foundation for human interaction because that's what it is. It's the foundation for human interaction. This is how we thrive.

0:37:21.9 Junior: So interaction. Interaction's a fascinating word to use because we've been talking about the fact that we interact with people every day. We have people in front of us all the time. You and I interacting. We do it constantly. Yet there's a difference between interaction and some of what we've been talking about, which is connection. So let's spend a little bit of time here and talk about some of the differences. I think that the differences lie at the heart of what the difference is between just existing in a world of humans and existing in a way where we belong. We feel connected. We feel involved, included, that we are participants in this shared experience together. So what is the difference in your mind, interaction, connection?

0:38:11.7 Tim: Well think of it this way. Have you ever had a day where you interacted with a lot of people but you felt lonely?

0:38:17.5 Junior: I've had two days. No, I've had a lot of days.

0:38:23.4 Tim: So this is such an interesting phenomenon. Think about how easy this can happen. You interact, but you don't connect. So an interaction is an exchange. It could be some exchange. An interaction is an exchange, usually a value of some kind. But what we're saying is that the interaction does not supply or fulfill your human needs. When it begins to supply and fulfill your human needs, now you're connecting. But you can have sterile interactions that are absolutely devoid of human fulfillment and satisfaction. So you can be lonely in a crowd. Lonely in a crowd. These are transactional. So they're transactions. So that's the difference. And the difference is profound. And so you turn an interaction into a connection when you're intentional about it. Give an example. So a gentleman came over to our home the other day to repair the furnace, to work on the furnace. Well, I brought him in, got him set up. It could have been a purely transactional experience. So a sterile interaction. But I have to be intentional if I want to turn it into a connection. And so how do I do that? I make some effort to connect with him as a human being.

0:39:56.6 Tim: And how do I do that? Goes back to the first behavioral family. I ask a question. So I start asking him about what he does, who he is. And it's not inappropriate. It's not overly invasive. It's just showing some respect and some interest. And what did he do? He lit up. Oh, yeah. He started talking and engaging and we connected and you'll find some common ground pretty fast. So you have to be intentional to turn an interaction into a connection, but it's not hard. You just have to want to.

0:40:33.0 Junior: Don't you have to be an HVAC technician to connect with an HVAC technician?

0:40:36.5 Tim: I don't think so. I don't know too much about HVAC, but he did. And you know what? I could see his passion for it. It was pretty exciting. So it's not hard to do.

0:40:46.4 Junior: So it brings up a point, which is that if you don't understand much about him or his world, it's pretty easy to just leave it alone, right? To just let it be. Why?

0:40:58.4 Tim: Because there's no natural affinity. What's affinity? Affinity means that there's a natural connection based on having similar attributes or characteristics. So if we're similar, if we're similar in makeup or interests or whatever, then we have affinity, some similarities that allow us to connect easily and naturally. But you know what? There wasn't a lot of affinity initially with that gentleman, but you can still do it.

0:41:29.9 Junior: So it's easier with people with whom we have affinity. It's more difficult with those people we don't. So you mentioned two types of behaviors in the past that perhaps we can discuss. One is bonding and one is bridging. Tell us about those two.

0:41:50.0 Tim: Yeah. Bonding means connecting with people with whom you have natural affinity. Whether similar in your makeup or your interests, there's likeness. And so that's not hard. It's easy. That's bonding behavior and it's very important, but it's not hard to bond with people with whom you have natural affinity. And if you watch people, just watch people in social situations, they often will self-segregate based on natural affinity. They find those links. They find the similarities and then they start bonding and it's a natural process. So that's a good thing. But bridging means that you don't have natural affinity with a person, but you're trying to connect with them. And so this is going to take more effort. You're going to have to move out of your comfort zone. You're going to have to inquire, show interest, look for points of entry, look for common ground, look for ways that you can connect that won't be perhaps apparent right from the beginning. You're going to have to do a little digging. You're going to have to do a little exploring. You're going to have to do a little discovering. It's going to take more effort to get there.

0:43:16.9 Tim: And so you're going to have to be deliberate about it, but that's bridging as opposed to bonding. Why does this matter? Because think about a team, think about an organization, think about a social unit or collective of any kind. There will be members of that team that are like you. Go bond with them. That's not hard. There will also be members of that team that are not like you. What are you going to do about that? May I suggest that you go bridge with them. It's not going to be easy necessarily, but you can do it. You can do it if the genuine intent is there, if the good faith is there, but that's what it takes to create a deeply inclusive environment with a diverse team. How else are you going to do it? You're going to bond with those that are like you. You're going to bridge with those that are not like you. And then you're going to bond with them after you bridge with them. So the one comes before the other.

0:44:23.2 Junior: You said get up and go bridge with them. That's a pretty active statement. In some cases, it will quite literally mean that. Move from where you are to where the other person or the other people are and go have a conversation and engage in some of those bridging behaviors. And those bridging behaviors, if you really think about it, fall into those categories that we talked about previously. So if you're worried about your ability to bridge with another group, those behaviors are fantastic places to start. Greet, ask, invite. You can start to see how that might show up when you're bridging with other people.

0:45:03.3 Tim: And give you another example, Junior.

0:45:05.1 Junior: Yeah, go ahead.

0:45:06.2 Tim: We had some new people move into the neighborhood and I took them a basket of peaches during the peach harvest, right? Peak of the season, love peaches. Took them a, and they're new and they were really delighted with that. They didn't know me from anyone. I just showed up, rang their doorbell, said, Hey, welcome to the neighborhood. Here's some peaches. Just wanted to say hi. They were kind of stunned actually because they came from a different state and they said, well, wow, where we came from, no one knew their neighbors. We don't do that. We didn't even know our neighbors. Why are you here? So like, this is unnatural behavior. What are you doing? That's in essence what they were saying to me. They were looking at me with puzzlement. What are you doing on our doorstep with a basket of peaches? It's a really weird home security pitch. But guess what? We bridged and then we bonded and it didn't take long to start bonding. And now we have a tremendous friendship that I think will be a lifelong friendship, but that's what it takes.

0:46:23.8 Junior: That's fantastic. It makes me think, can an organization achieve true inclusion without its members engaging in bridging? No way. I think the answer is not a chance.

0:46:35.6 Tim: Not a chance. It's not going to happen.

0:46:38.3 Junior: And there's some real bottom line impact to bridging. There's some real innovation impact in bridging. I was looking through a book and you may have mentioned this recently as Everett Rogers, Diffusion of Innovation. One of the quotes from the book that struck me that has to do with what we're talking about, he said, the very nature of diffusion, talking about the diffusion of innovation and different ideas, demands that at least some degree of heterophily be present between the two participants. And so heterophily talking about bridging, really. That's bridging. There are different groups that are connecting that wouldn't naturally connect. And so we talk about the innovation threshold, which we'll get to in stage four of another episode. But this seems to be a prerequisite that this must be in place in order for ideas to spread because they won't spread if they're spread only amongst affinity groups. It's counter to the whole idea of diffusing the information. So I think that that's a really interesting point.

0:47:52.3 Tim: Yeah. So that goes back to those two words, homophily and heterophily, right? Coined in the 1950s by a couple of sociologists at Columbia, and I'll think of their names. Oh, Robert K. Merton, I think was the first one. And then Paul Lazarsfeld. And homophily comes from Latin roots, which means homo means same, and then philia means love. And so we have a love for people who are like us. That's what it means. And so we're going to bond naturally with people that are like us. And then heterophily means that we have a love or a friendship for those who are not like us. What are we saying? You need both. You're going to need to bridge and you're going to need to bond. You've got to do both to get there. Got to do both.

0:48:45.8 Junior: We spent some time talking about stage one inclusion safety, and I'd like to summarize some of what we've talked about today and make sure that we're aligned, we're on the same page, and we're coming out of this conversation understanding what we're going to go do differently. So we talked a little bit about the vulnerable state of humanity, that we're born into this state of vulnerability because there are other humans and every time there's an interaction, there's a little bit of risk or a lot of risk depending on who we are and what we're doing. So human interaction is vulnerable. We can't escape that. And it sounds like we wouldn't want to. Certainly we wouldn't want to. So this interaction and this connection is a universal need. And it's something that we do every day when we enter new social situations and social situations that we've been in for a long time. And I would encourage all of us to look at those that we've been in for a really long time with a new light.

0:49:42.3 Tim: Yeah. And we don't stop threat detection, do we, Junior? No, we don't.

0:49:45.9 Tim: We keep doing it.

0:49:46.8 Junior: It's ever present. So we all long to belong. And in order to find that connection, we need to do two things. Not only do we need to reward vulnerability, we need to model it. That can be a difficult thing to do. So you showing up at the doorstep of the neighbors with the basket full of peaches, there's a level of risk to you, right? This is a little outside the comfort zone. Don't know who these people are either. And maybe they just don't care.

0:50:19.3 Tim: Yeah. Well, I got to tell you the other part of the story, see. So there's another neighbor that moved in. I did the same thing. I've been there three times. They won't answer the door. There you go. See. So there's risk, there's vulnerability for me to bridge, to engage in vulnerable behavior. And I still haven't been able to meet them. I don't think they want to meet me. And that's okay. But I can keep trying, right? Maybe try a different fruit. That may be it. No, I hope they answer the door. But that's the reality. Yeah, it is.

0:51:03.7 Junior: So inclusion safety, I would encourage all of us as we go throughout our days interacting with other people, keep that top of mind. These are vulnerable activities sometimes, and you never know what someone on the other side of the interaction is going through, where they come from. And so engage in that social exchange and understand that they are owed your respect. They are owed and entitled to your respect. And if they don't present you with harm, engage. Do those activities. Bridge. It will benefit you personally tremendously. You'll have meaning. It will benefit your teams.

0:51:47.6 Junior: It will benefit your organizations. The effects of stage one inclusion safety are far reaching, and they have so much to do with humanity and also so much to do with performance, which we'll get into in the other segments of this four-part series. But that's what I'm leaving today with, Tim, is just a renewed effort to engage in some of those behaviors. What are you thinking about as we close up today?

0:52:14.6 Tim: Well, maybe a couple of summary statements on stage one. As you said, Junior, it's a human right. Treating another human being should be an act of prejudgment based on your worth. In other words, I don't need to think about it in advance. It's a matter of prejudgment based on your inherent worth as a human being, not an act of judgment based on my opinion of your worthiness. Now you see the distinction that we've made. Inherent is about your intrinsic worth as a member of the human family, not worthiness. We should be applying a worth test to each other, not a worthiness test. This is not about your worthiness. We'll get to that later when we talk about performance in stage three contributor safety. But stage one is about your intrinsic inherent worth as a human being. It's an act of prejudgment for me to include you and invite you into my society. That's how we think about stage one. I love it. What a beautiful thing. It is.

0:53:25.5 Junior: Tim, thank you for your time today. Thank you for the conversation.

0:53:28.7 Tim: No, thanks, Junior. It's been great. Appreciate it.

0:53:31.2 Junior: And to all you listening, thank you for listening, for spending your time and attention with us today and learning a little bit more about psychological safety and the role that inclusion plays. Do not forget to join us in the subsequent episodes of this series. We'll be talking about stages two, three and four learner contributor and challenger safety. If you want to refresh or you want to jump ahead and you haven't had the opportunity to go ahead and read the book, The Four Stages of Psychological Safety. And with that, we'll sign off until next time. Thank you, everyone. Bye bye.

0:54:17.9 Tim: Thanks for joining me today on the Culture by Design podcast. Be sure to subscribe and listen to new episodes every week. And if you'd like to see more of the work we're doing, go to leaderfactor.com.

Show Notes

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Episode Transcript

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Recent Episodes

The Coaching and Accountability Matrix

Published
May 20, 2024

Micro-coaching Pt. 2: The 3 Levels of Accountability

Published
May 13, 2024

Micro-coaching Part 1: The Coaching Continuum

Published
May 6, 2024