A learning environment depends on security.
Today we would probably change the wording: “A learning environment depends on psychological safety.”
I came across the sentence when I opened an old book that had a significant impact on my attitude as a leader. “Ten Steps to a Learning Organization” by Peter Kline and Bernhard Saunders. I had read it in 1998 in its German translation and it still has a place of honor in my library.
The sentence on page 100 (German translated edition) is the title of a subchapter that reads like a passage from a psychological safety book.
In my professional role in 1998/99, I spent two years as a company-wide change agent and as an organizational developer, experiencing a firework of learnings. Before and after, I was always in the line as a production manager and manufacturing leader, most recently in the leadership of large organizations.
Of course, today I know the work of Amy Edmondson and am a fan and supporter of the playbook on psychological safety by Karolin Helbig and Minette Norman.
In retrospect, I found it fascinating how close I was to the modern topic of psychological safety on many areas of my practical experience. Much spoke and speaks to me from the soul.
I actually found the concept of psychological safety a bit confusing at the beginning and had to read books about it to understand the framework for it. Being a member of a learning organization, or even the helmsman responsible for it, sounds super interesting and stimulating from my point of view.
Today I know that there is a real connection between these two fields, Psychological Safety and Learning Organization.
In my view, the way to develop to a learning organization is a way to translate psychological safety into everyday work life by simply asking:
▶ How does my team become a learning organization?
▶ What can I do as a team leader for this? and
▶ How do I want to behave in my leadership role to support this?
This then leads directly to the topic and the playbook quoted above becomes the guide.
➡ How do you translate psychological safety into your everyday work?
If interested, I accompany executives in organizations when important leadership topics need to be adapted to the situation for implementation.