Organizational Culture That Supports Learning Curves
Have you seen the LinkedIn post that everyone is talking about? The one about the “crying CEO.”
If you need some context, take a quick look at this CNBC article: CEO posts crying selfie on LinkedIn after laying off employees – and it goes viral.
To start: No, this is not another comment on, critique of, or complaint about the original poster. Instead, I would like to address the impact of the publicized angst that has resulted from the original post.
So many of the team leaders I know and work with are trying to create an environment of psychological safety. This is not about whether I agree or disagree with the substance or style of the message delivered. I think it’s important to talk about the overwhelming number of comments and the overarching tone of responses to the message itself.
Each and every one of us is bombarded with so much information – some true, some valid, and some simply a waste of our intellectual energy. Many of us spend a great deal of time and energy just parsing this information down to “yes, I should pay attention to this” OR “no, this is not worth my attention.” But beyond that decision process, we still receive messages and perceived dispositions about topics that are not helpful.
When someone sends a message, whether you agree with it or not is not always the point.
Do you have to comment on it? Do you consider how your response will affect the whole? And do we have to reinforce an ethos that says one mistake or one bad delivery will be the defining factor of our reputations?
It is all too easy to take a lesson from this that will not help us encourage contribution, creativity, or foster psychological safety. The message coming from this is that the only real safety we have is to not say anything at all. If you say something, and you’re wrong, or you’re awkward in delivery, just remember there are thousands of people who will gladly point that out to you. That makes the learning curve even steeper, posing a problem for the leaders who are encouraging their teams to create an environment and culture that is both diverse and inclusive. A culture where we will make mistakes and learn rather than make mistakes and burn.
So, if we’re talking about the “crying CEO” – let’s talk about the environment behind the responses to the post. What kind of culture are you trying to create and how do you encourage learning curves in your teams?