Recently I had a chat with some people on Linkedin about the size and complexities of safety manuals. Some mentioned 80 to 120 page procedure manual. Imagine there is an emergency, and all you have is the phone book for a procedure. It is far from ideal.
The same can be said for Psychological Safety, I believe. There are many authors writing books and manuals on this subject. Each is churning out some 200 pages describing what psychological safety looks like and explaining how well we should behave to get there. Reams of pages written to recommend their own safety procedure on creating the perfect safe environment or culture for learning, innovating, and running a business.
Their approach seems to be to teach managers to mold their teams into perfectly well behaved members. But it can be exhausting and nobody’s perfect. Then there are the workshops for when they didn’t get the ideas in the books. Oh hum! Who can remember all of this? And then, what happens when we forget under the duress of conflict. The ideas fly out the window as quick as we fly off the handle. There must be a better way, and I think I have come up with one.
During disagreements, we can tend to behave uncivilly if left unchecked. Raising our voice and tone, using sarcasm, dogma, accusing, blaming, threatening, browbeating, misleading, swearing, and other coercive devices to get our way and win the argument. You know what I mean. We all have been either the perpetrator or on the receiving end of such misbehavior.
So, instead of teaching teams how to behave well, maybe we could empower the victims of incivility to speak up when they are offended or feel uncomfortable by any team member’s misbehavior.
By agreeing to a simple procedure to tackle such behavior, we can then get back to discussing, fairly, how to resolve the issue at hand. We call our safety procedure Object123, where we object to the offender’s behavior in real-time, using three levels or phases of objection. E.g., 1. Caution 2. Object 3. Stop. See below. And if we still cannot resolve our dispute, it is automatically posted to the Disputz Network, -our safety net- to be reviewed by your peers.
Initially, we will form our first dispute network using startup co-founders. They will form a fantastic resource that other founders can use to resolve their behavioral disputes, as well as offer feedback on the issues that caused the the dispute in the first place. What do you think?