• Joshua Ehrenreich

If you want to have stretch goals, you need to listen, and other learns

Really enjoyed the first meeting of our Psychological Safety Podcast Club. For this first meeting, we listened to an interview with Amy Edmondson on the HBR IdeaCast (link below). Here’s are some highlights from the conversation.

HBR IdeaCast—Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

If you want to have stretch goals, you need to listen 

We seized upon the idea that stretch goals as a strategy are great, but if a leadership team or manager sets them, they need to be ready to hear feedback that they may not be so achievable. At worst, you can have a situation like what happened at Wells Fargo, where the ’stretch goals of cross-selling’ were both unachievable AND unchangeable. Those situations lead to disaster.

Iterative development = iterative learning

Many of us are in industries that develop software or products in iterative cycles; when you have shorter cycles with smaller releases, you can accomplish more and learn more. But it’s easy to forget the power of this when we shift focus from a customer-facing product to a more employee-centric one. Creating internal talent tools or communication strategies are also best done when we can learn and adjust along the way, which that implies failure, at least in some capacity, and that’s not a bad thing.

How do you manage up and cultivate an environment of empathy, learning, candor when the boss isn’t too willing to listen? 

The golden question, isn’t it? I suspect this will be an ongoing discussion throughout our meetings. We talked about strategies such as leading with what the boss identifies as most important and then framing our need or news as a stepping stone towards that goal (‘I hear you are saying knowing this information is mission-critical, in the absence of that knowledge right now, who would you like me to partner with to make sure we’re up to speed…). We also talked about how the phrase ‘I’d like to try an experiment…’ can be especially useful in shifting your boss or stakeholder’s mindset from defensive to creative and collaborative.

Interested in listening with us? We're (digitally) meeting through the end of May. Drop me a line on LinkedIn if you'd like to join the discussion.

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