The Ladder of Vulnerability Panel Discussion


August 8, 2022



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Show Notes


This episode is a recording of a previous event “The Ladder of Vulnerability” you can find the full video at

If psychological safety is a culture of rewarded vulnerability, the most practical way to increase psychological safety is to model acts of vulnerability yourself and reward the vulnerable acts of others.

But not all acts of vulnerability are created equal. What you perceive as a low-risk act of vulnerability might be high-risk for someone else. We call this the Ladder of Vulnerability. You have a ladder that is unique to you: it comes from your environment, your role, socialization and education, your confidence, and the way people treat you. 

In this live virtual event, Timothy R. Clark was joined by panelists Rafael Ramos from Coca-Cola FEMSA, Chantal le Roux from Amazon Web Services, Zaineb Haider from Cigna, and Tracey Walker from RSM. Together they discuss their own personal ladders of vulnerability based on the LeaderFactor vulnerability self-assessment. 

As a participant, you’ll also have the opportunity to take the Ladder of Vulnerability self-assessment at

What is Psychological Safety (2:47) 

Psychological safety can be defined in five words “a culture of rewarded vulnerability”. Human interaction is a vulnerable activity. The question is what are we going to do about that? Are we going to reward the vulnerability of others? 

What are Some Common Acts of Vulnerability? (4:15)

When we say that we are being vulnerable it translates into specific behaviors. The live attendees shared a few examples of common acts of vulnerability including:

-Stating that you disagree

-Admitting you don’t know something

-Sharing mistakes

-A handshake

-Meeting new people

-Providing feedback

-Being in a minority group

-Sharing something personal

-Challenging someone who has more authority than you. 

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™ Framework (7:15)

Psychological safety is a combination of respect and permission. It includes four stages that social groups of all kinds progress through. Inclusion is the first human need that we need to satisfy. Each stage represents a higher level of vulnerability. 

  1. Inclusion Safety
  2. Learner Safety
  3. Contributor Safety
  4. Challenger Safety

The Ladder of Vulnerability Self-Assessment (11:35)

All participants are invited to take a 20 question self-assessment.

Meet our Panelists (13:10)

Chantal le Roux

Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Program Manager for Amazon Web Services 

Chantal le Roux is an Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Programme Manager for Amazon Web Services. She has a background in transpersonal psychology and special needs education. Her work focuses on supporting people in recognizing and reaching their potential.

Rafael Ramos

Chief Supply Chain and Engineering Officer for Coca-Cola FEMSA.

Mr. Ramos joined Coca-Cola FEMSA in 1999 and was appointed to his current position in 2018. With over 31 years of experience in the beverage industry, he previously served in several senior management positions, including Manufacturing Director for Southeast Mexico, Manufacturing and Logistics Director, Supply Chain Director for Mexico and Central America, and Supply Chain Director of FEMSA Comercio. 

Tracey Walker 

National Leader of Culture, Diversity and Inclusion for RSM

As principal within the $3B RSM enterprise, Tracey Walker serves as National Leader of Culture Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). She designs RSM's national diversity, equity and inclusion programming, policy and enterprise-wide strategy, creating a culture of inclusion for the 15,000 domestic employees across 90 offices in the US and Canada. She also supports the cultural effectiveness efforts of RSM International. 

Zaineb Haider

Senior Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisor at Cigna

Zaineb Haider is the Senior Advisor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Cigna. Zaineb designs and leads Inclusive Leadership Enablement across the Cigna Enterprise. Zaineb’s experience is in DEI organizational assessments, strategy design and implementation, cultural intelligence and DEI facilitation. Prior to joining Cigna, Zaineb was a Senior Consultant with Ivy Planning Group providing DEI consulting and training services to leading Fortune 500 corporations, 

Tracey Walker Ladder of Vulnerability Insights (17:29)

Tracey shares her insights on the top three most vulnerable items and her bottom three items in her self assessment. 

Rafael Ramos Ladder of Vulnerability Insights (20:54)

Rafael shares his insights on the top three most vulnerable items and his bottom three items in her self assessment. 

Zaineb Haider Ladder of Vulnerability Insights (24:51)

Zaineb shares her insights on the top three most vulnerable items and her bottom three items in her self assessment. 

Chantal le Roux Ladder of Vulnerability Insights (28:33)

Chantal shares her insights on the top three most vulnerable items and her bottom three items in her self assessment. 

Panelists Group Discussion and Insights (31:33)

Question (31:33): Let’s assume we are taking this assessment as a team and now we are aware of each other's ladders of vulnerability. What would you do differently? How would this help you in everyday work life?

Question (37:28) How has the culture (geographically) of which you are apart influenced your ladder?

Question (42:15) How do we reconcile the need to fit in with the need to be ourselves?

Closing Remarks (48:02)

Cultures of rewarded vulnerability are cultures with high psychological safety. To improve psychological safety in your organization is to model acts of vulnerability yourself and reward the vulnerable acts of others. The 4 Stages Improve platform will help you uncover your team members’ areas of greatest vulnerability and then help you reward that vulnerability through data-driven action plans.

Episode Transcript

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