Today I talked with a friend who is in a leadership position in an organization that experienced significant, disappointing setbacks over the past year. Some came from mandated shutdowns due to Covid19, some were due to unethical or complacent partners, and some resulted from incomplete knowledge. In spite of our best intentions, humans are finite. We don’t always know what we don’t know.

My friend has recovered his equilibrium, by giving himself time to process the losses, re-establish relationships, address the issues that need to be addressed, and is now preparing to re-boot and re-start where needed. The organization has found new momentum. His team is committed to its shared mission and is using the lessons learned to become stronger than it was before the setbacks.

We talked about the importance of safety in an organization and team to learn from losses and errors. Without that safety, in challenging times, teams can crumble and losses can increase. With that safety, teams have the ability to learn and make new choices based on the information and new knowledge gained from their experiences.

Swimming in a culture of psychological safety allows leaders and teams to fail forward together. The commitment to the team mission remains strong, and the team is able to proceed in new directions to work together to take new actions on shared cares and to make new promises they can keep.

How are you assessing psychological safety in your company culture? In your teams? How are you helping create this kind of culture that allows you to fail forward together?

If you could use a little help, reach out. You’ve got a friend.