The Fearless Organization - Amy C. Edmondson

Book club | 10.01.2020

The Fearless Organization – Amy Edmondson

Our book shelf is always bursting at the seams with the latest reads. So, in the spirit of sharing, we decided to create a book club. Read on for our review of Amy Edmondson’s latest bestseller, ‘The Fearless Organization’.

In 2012, Google’s project Aristotle set out to answer the question ‘What makes a Google team effective’? Their research found that psychological safety was by far the most important factor in creating effective teams.

“Psychological safety describes a climate where people feel safe enough to take interpersonal risks by speaking up and sharing concerns, questions and ideas.”

What is The Fearless Organization all about?

Amy Edmondson’s The Fearless Organization is a practical guide to creating a culture that enables companies to flourish. Edmondson explain how through innovation and learning, people feel safe to contribute fully and share their ideas and opinions. It’s a step-by-step guide that takes us through:

  • The power of psychological safety 
  • Psychological safety at work 
  • Creating a fearless organisation

Who is it for?

This book is for leaders and teams alike. It’s packed with examples of how everyone has the power to contribute to building a fearless culture.

Lightbulb moments

1. What psychological safety isn’t

Psychological safety is a big topic, so it’s helpful to have a clear overview of what it shouldn’t be mistaken for. It isn’t:

About being nice. It’s about candour, constructive disagreement and free exchange of ideas. 

A personality factor. People will speak up if they feel safe, regardless of whether they are an introvert or extrovert.

Another word for trust. Whilst they have a lot in common they’re not the same. You might trust one person and not another, but to have a psychologically safe environment, it must be felt across a group. 

About lowering standards. It’s not about being comfortable. Psychological safety is about being more honest, challenging and collaborative.

2. It’s where learning and high performance happens

3. Psychological safety takes time, patience and experimentation

The final chapter of the book is all about making it happen. It talks about setting the stage, inviting participation (with some guidance on the power of great questions), and responding in a way that builds safety. These are great guiding principles but exactly how you put them into practice will take a bit of trial, error and practice. You’ll need to find the interventions that work best for your team or organisation.

Most importantly, it needs to be done consistently and over time, with leaders at every level to help you get there.

Would you like to read this book?

Once we’ve finished reading a book, we share the headlines and then pass it on to the first person who asks. If you’d like to read this book, email and we’ll pop it in the post. Once you’ve read it, it can live on your shelf forever or you can pass it on to someone new.

The Fearless Organization - Amy C. Edmondson