A couple of weeks ago, I listened to an episode of Adam Grant's podcast talking about psychological safety at work. The discussion looked at why and how you can create a culture where people feel safe reporting bad news. One phrase, in particular, has stuck with me since:
"Better teams report more mistakes." – Adam Grant
The podcast wasn't talking about OKRs or goal-setting at all. In fact, it would be closer to a discussion around whistleblowing. However, I couldn't help but create a parallel with the culture required to have empowered teams.
Teams that can raise concerns without being punished will outperform the teams that are trying to be heroes. This can be explained in two ways:
- They communicate early: they don't wait for the situation to be critical, which allows for small adjustments to be made before things get expensive.
- They can take more risks: teams that get punished harshly for failures will only go for easy bets. On the other hand, teams that accept failures will go for riskier but more rewarding goals.
You can listen to the full episode here.