Getting to Yes, And

Amy Edmondson: The Right Kind of Wrong


Amy Edmondson

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Kelly welcomes back renowned Harvard professor Amy Edmondson to the podcast to discuss her new book "The Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well."

Not many people know that you coined the term ‘psychological safety’ when you were doing a paper on nursing teams at a hospital in Boston.

“We really were able to show that there were real differences in interpersonal climate around speaking up about error, asking for help: those very threatening interpersonal behaviors. I later called that climate difference ‘psychological safety.’ Ultimately, that variable and the measure I developed for it gave rise to a very robust research literature in social psychology and organizational behavior and health care.”

And the idea is that we have to understand our failures in order to learn from them.

"What the book is arguing is we've got to be willing to confront mistakes and failures head on, because that's the only way to learn the lessons that they bring, and those are incredibly valuable lessons. I mean, some lessons are more valuable than others. But we're instinctively prone to wanting to just turn away from them - to not finding anything about our shortcomings because they are not enjoyable to contemplate. And yet that means we miss out on great value.”

What we know in improvisation is that you can’t be creative if you’re in judgement of self or in judgement of others. That connects to what you’re talking about, right?

“Judgment. Yeah, judgment is exactly the right word. We are afraid of judgment, and we just have to take a deep breath and say, ‘You know, that's holding us back right?’ When you're afraid of judgment, you're paralyzed; you're very risk-adverse, very unwilling to do the kinds of things that help you stretch and grow, and make progress going forward in your lives. All of those moments of holding back, ultimately, you're the one who who suffers - you don't gain from it. It does. In the moment it might feel like you gain from it, but you don’t.”

Photo Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

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