Peace

We are all deeply saddened by what is happening in Ukraine and our hearts go out to all the people suffering in this conflict, no matter what their passport says.

We stand with Ukraine. We condemn violence. We pray for peace.

Immediate Actions – How You Can Help Right Now

(Status: Tuesday, 8 March 22)

  • Keep yourself informed about the security situation on the ground and in the neighboring countries.
  • Ensure that you are mentally ready to support others and feel free to reach out to Angie if you wish to talk. The best way to reach her right now is through her mobile phone.
  • Provide a shower or room: In Switzerland, organizations such as Campax are looking for accommodation and families who have spare rooms to take in refugees for now. Being able to have a shower and stay for one night is better than nothing. Also, the Swiss cantonal authorities are setting up accommodation and you can check your local migration office if you have families and friends who need a new home or place to stay.
  • Employ a refugee. According to our research Ukrainian refugees will be allowed to work in Switzerland with an S status within 3 months. In the European Union, many countries will allow them to work right away. Check this site for a Q & A on the situation in Switzerland.
  • Hold a fundraiser at your workplace and ask your employer to match donations. The ICRC has great programs your employer can support and financial aid helps fast in this situation.
  • Support grass-roots actions. Our friend Birger Oldorff is providing transportation to vulnerable refugees through Human-Plus, a German non-profit. https://human-plus.de/en/ +4921531397263 info@human-plus.org.
  • Consider what you share on social media right now. We provide guidance on Digital Media Literacy here in this post.
  • Volunteer your time as you have great skills and knowledge to help. We love this resource for example: HRforUkraine
  • Be kind to others who might be going through trauma, anxiety, have to take care of families and friends, even if you don’t know how affected they are.
  • Offer your ears and hearts to people. Some people feel better if they can talk or chat with someone. Offer your support via social media or through your direct contacts.
  • Decorate your house with a peace flag.
  • Share important phone numbers on Twitter and Facebook. Many refugees are confused and not sure who to contact for help. This site by the ICRC is really helpful.

DONATION MATCHING GLOBAL PEOPLE TRANSITIONS

**Global People for Global People**

We will match donations to the ICRC until 20 March 2022. If you aren’t employed right now, you can send us your donation receipt and we will collect all donations and match them up to CHF 10k.

We’re not sure what to do if we raise more, but we will update you. 🙂

Donations and Fundraising

Here are things you should consider: 

  • Does the relief charity meet Better Business Bureau charity standards?
  • Can the charity get to the impacted area?
  • Not all charities have the resources to provide relief to Ukraine as quickly as necessary. It would be wise to check and see if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine or another eastern European country.
  • We advise against sending clothing. They could create logistical challenges to deliver to Ukraine (and bordering countries). They also often create a lot of extra waste if they cannot be used immediately.
  • Check if the charity experienced in providing emergency relief.

Experienced in disaster relief and recommended:

Red Cross (ICRC – and national committees)

UNICEF (and any other UN branch such as the UNHCR or the World Food Programm)

Amnesty International

Doctors Without Borders


The present war in Ukraine has reminded us how our world’s stability is all but relative and fragile. Just another sign of this BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-Linear, Incomprehensible) World. As if the humanitarian situation in Ukraine was not enough in itself, the rest of Europe and the world will definitely feel the earthquake aftershocks because of our ever growing interconnectedness that condemns us all to food and energy security failures and negative impact on general trade. 

The sheer size of the catastrophe is a major factor that contributes to the prevailing anxiety and adds to the confusing complexity of our nonlinear world: the multiple causes and impacts (even the yet unforeseen consequences that will or could  eventually occur). The overflow of information (information, disinformation, as well as misinformation) and the growing complexity of our world renders this situation and the whole world more difficult to comprehend, predict and control.

Jamais Cascio, the author who coined “BANI world” wrote “[a] sizable share of those of us who work in the field of imagining the future often struggle with […] a difficulty in seeing our world in anything other than an apocalyptic frame. It’s not because we want it this way, but because other framings seem inadequate or false. The danger of this urge is that it can easily become a trigger for surrender, a slipstream into despair. Through all this, we believe that we can do something to improve the situation, and if not the whole wide world’s situation, at least our own.”

According to Cascio, “for each problematic aspect of our BANI world, there is maybe not so much a solution, but a way to react, that might help us and others better manage the situation itself and our emotions and stress that ensue from it. When something is brittle, it requires capacity, and resilience. When we feel anxious, we need empathy and mindfulness. Non-linear circumstances need context and adaptivity. And what is incomprehensible calls for transparency and intuition. Everyone can do their share and extend empathy and mindfulness. As for context and transparency, we believe it is everyone’s responsibility to verify the veracity of the information they share (may it be in person or on social media). This contributes to limiting the misinformation impacting our confusion and anxiety.”

A year ago, the concept of BANI was just that. A concept. Today, it’s a reality that we all feel in our bodies. You might have woken up last week with a taste of iron in your mouth. The earth might have felt a bit shaky when you went out after you heard about the invasion in Ukraine. And now, a few days later you might be lying in your bed crying, feeling like you can’t face another day in this world. You went through all the phases of grief described by Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross in her famous book “On Death and Dying (1969).

If you have never seen a difference between something that you understand with your mind, but not with your body then this is your next leadership lesson. For example: I was able to explain “intercultural leadership” or “transactional analysis” in my late 20ies but I only experienced body sensations in my late 30ies. 

I knew for a long time that there are people who are relationship-oriented, rather than task-oriented, but I only experienced this when I went to India back in 2006. 

Last week I went from shocked to angry to crisis mode. My German default took over. I gave (friendly) orders, advice and pushed an agenda for providing psychological safety in this situation. Today I’m ready to grief and process. For most of last week I felt pain in my back and my shoulders. This is a trigger, body sensation I know too well. It’s a mix of feeling overwhelmed and anxious, feeling left alone with the burden of responsibility and having to stand up and do it anyway. Even if your voice is shaking, even if you are criticized, even if you are told to keep in your lane and despite your inner critic that tells you: “This will not end well.” and the inner Gollum (your worry monster) who also tells you “We’re all gonna die anyway, so why bother”. 

And this my friend, is when we rise.

Here are five ways to provide psychological safety and help your people stand up for what they believe in, have a voice and be heard. 

1 – The Daily Fail

My great friend Inge Nitsche, CEO and Chair of Expatise Academy is using a “memotrainer” and the way it works is that you are continuously asked questions until you get them right. The retention of this kind of training is exponentially higher than other training methods as people are told that their MISTAKES ARE GOOD

The more you get wrong, the faster you fail, the higher your improvement score and learning curve. Yes, this is frustrating, but it works. And I believe that I would like to practice that now. Because: As I recently told one of you “We’re not in high school anymore.”

I admit that I failed at giving psychological safety and it made me consider what I could do to role model the behavior behind it and how I could approach this topic with a growth mindset. I am working on an experiment I would like to share with you: Every day, I am allowing myself to admit one fail by saying or writing it down. Then I correct the mistake or I try to understand where I was wrong or on the wrong path. This is hard, because I’m used to being in an “Expert” role and it is very unusual behavior in a FEAR CULTURE but I will try it anyway, because if I allow myself to make mistakes and to correct mistakes, then others will see that it is okay to show that you are not perfect and that learning only happens in an environment where it is okay to fail even if it is just in small doses.

2 – The Broken Record 

Another experiment is the “Broken Record”. If I identify an issue that needs change, I will address the issue again and again, especially when I feel that I had not been heard in the past. This way, through repetition, I will either learn that I was wrong about my assumptions OR if I was right that maybe other people learn in a different way and that I need to give them the time to catch up. 

It’s also helpful to address the issues that you wish to flag at various angles and find friends that you trust who will help you spread the message.

3 – The Daily Agile

You probably know that this is one of my principles and for a long time one of my priorities because I am also a fan of the Agile Manifesto. So, I usually prioritize my clients over anyone else, but I also prioritize people over processes and tasks. This principle helps to focus on what is important in the moment. If you are unsure whether you should draft a contract, update your HR System or listen to an anxious colleague or team member and you apply the agile manifesto you never doubt yourself. Follow your inner guidance here.

4 – The ZEN Workspace

Without order outside there is no order within. Working from home a lot we now keep our home even cleaner than before and maintain a few ZEN practices to ensure that order is maintained on a daily basis. You can apply ZEN practices to your workspace, your desktop, your data, your filing system and your KANBAN. If you get overwhelmed by chaos, you can always work on your system and find a system or backup plan that supports you. It could even be a paper binder or a laminated checklist. Make it a habit to clean up every day. Keep order outside and clear your clutter regularly. I find this usually gives me peace and calm. Even folding the laundry or cleaning my shoes can help there.

5 – The Rollercoaster

When I get up in the morning thinking “this will be a quiet day and I can finally get a bit of admin done” there’s a high probability that the day will end up with laser swords, magic wands, and fighting the dark force. We can handle many things when we are centered and calm, but it’s better to be prepared at any time that the next crisis is just around the corner. Charge your smartphone. Pack a backpack. Wear comfortable clothes. Get fit. Be ready to run.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” 

YODA

PS: 

Join us on our journey towards becoming Jedi and sign up to get invited to the upcoming RockMeRetreat

Further Resources:

https://medium.com/@cascio/facing-the-age-of-chaos-b00687b1f51d

https://stephangrabmeier.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/BANI-vs-VUCA_Infographic_Stephan-Grabmeier.png

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobmorgan8/

GUEST POST BY NABEHA LATIF

From a Punny Remark to a Household Media Channel
Ever since Twitter hit the internet in 2006, it evolved from a punny remark about your meal snaps to an integral part of online communication as a whole. With its simple ideology and a tweet (message) consistent with a set amount of characters, you witness an ever-growing set of to-the-point remarks and comments alike.

 

However, Twitter isn’t only for some fun pastime. It can be utilized as a significant component of managing your business online. So here’s our guide to keeping your business up to the digital standard.

Why Twitter for Business?
There are many motivations to make Twitter a piece of your business’s digital media plan in an undeniably jam-packed online media scene.

Marketing and getting the word out on Twitter is particularly appealing because the platform fights at a surprisingly high level as far as reach is concerned. The complete number of individuals going on Twitter consistently is more than the number of registered accounts!

This implies that you’re not simply getting your content to users when you tweet. Instead, you’re likewise contacting a more extensive crowd who additionally reads Twitter.

The Basics:
Assuming you’re completely new to Twitter, the initial steps are similar whether you’re making a profile for a business or individual use.

 

Whether you already have an account or not, utilizing these tips will keep your basics solid.

 

Creating a Profile

  1. Profile Photo: The profile photo represents your account everywhere on Twitter. It should be recognizable and shouldn’t change too often. Most companies include their logo in their profile image.

  2. Header/Cover Photo: This is where you can share the latest updates in a visually striking format. It is often replaced, unlike the profile picture.

  3. Username: Your @name is the name of your account. It doesn’t change. You can change your display name, but it’s best to set it as your organization’s name and leave it at that.

  4. Bio: Your bio is your brand’s elevator pitch. A concise introduction for your brand, Link your website!

  5. Pinned Tweet: A pinned Tweet is the first piece of content users see when coming across your profile. It isn’t required, but it’s a great place to highlight content.

Twitter Slang/Terminology:
I’m sure we’re all familiar with what a “tweet” is by now, but when it comes to Twitter, that’s only a starter! Here’s some terminology you should understand before heading on in the circle:

 

  1. Hashtag: A word preceded by a # symbol. It acts as a tag to content to categorize or relate to a particular topic.

  2. Mentions: A tweet with the @ symbol followed by a person or brand’s username. This helps you tag people and monitor them to see what others say about you.

  3. Retweet: Sharing someone else’s tweet is known as a retweet.

  4. Quote: Similar to a retweet, but with an added comment about the original tweet.

  5. DMs: Also known as Direct Messages, they are private messages between accounts. If a non-follower contacts you, they will be sent to your requests folder. This can be changed in settings.

  6. Topics: These are headings and tags an account can follow in order to see content related to a subject of interest.

Verification:
Verification on Twitter means having a recognized account by Twitter and being granted a blue tick in front of your username. It’s similar to verifying your account on Instagram.

For a brand, you’ll need to provide your Official Website and Official Email. For a brand celebrity etc., an extra piece of information is required, which will be a form of Official Identification.

How to run your business on Twitter:
Once you’ve nailed down the basics and prepped your account for expansion, consider going through the following tips to grow your business.

  • Create a Marketing Strategy:
    Creating, posting, and monitoring your Tweets is a key aspect of your business. So It’s best to be consistent and orderly about it all. A Twitter marketing strategy will help you bring your brand on track and help you achieve your set goals.

    Your Twitter strategy will tie into your overall Social Media Strategy and should be on your content calendar. Having a global view of your social media marketing will allow you to take advantage of each platform’s specific strengths.

  • Finding a Brand Voice:
    Twitter is covered with the graves of accounts that didn’t think before tweeting. It pays to have your brand’s voice designed for the platform.

    Having a consistent voice on social media makes it simpler to interface with your audience. It likewise assists your brand with standing apart among the organizations battling a portion of the 1.9 billion hours that clients spend on Twitter every month.

  • Use Twitter Lists:
    When you get active on Twitter and your channel begins to top off, Twitter Lists can diminish the clamor by sorting your channel into targeted topics.

 

Making a Twitter List resembles making a timeline that just has content from the accounts you pick.

There is an assortment of topics you should make a List about for your business. You can utilize them to monitor accomplices, contenders, or the accounts that draw in with you the most.

Twitter Spaces:
Twitter Spaces is another component that permits you to have live audio discussions with different clients.

 

With Spaces incorporated into the Twitter platform, it’s not difficult to spread the news about your audio sessions. Joining is pretty much as simple as clicking a link in a Tweet.

 

Announcing your Spaces talk with a Tweet allows you to use the span of your current Twitter brand into engagement on Spaces.

Using Ads to Promote:
Twitter’s millions of clients are a major piece of what makes it an alluring platform for brands. In any case, the volume of the content presented on Twitter consistently can likewise imply that your brand’s Tweets become mixed up in the conflict.

Twitter advertising is the response to this issue. You can promote anything from a solitary Tweet to a whole account.

With no base financial plan, there’s a Twitter advertising choice that will assist any brand in getting noticed.

Utilize Advanced Search:
For thousands of Tweets each moment about movies and memes, Twitter’s search bar generally isn’t to the point of observing the content you’re searching for.

 

Twitter’s advance option is an all the more integral asset for filtering through Tweets, with many capacities to assist with advancing your brand.

 

You can look by account notices to observe clients drawing in with you. Commitment channels permit you to track down the most famous Tweets about a topic.

Monitor with Twitter Analytics:
Twitter Analytics is a robust platform that utilizes diagrams and reports to give experiences to your Twitter usage.

 

This instrument gives data on everything from your top Tweet to ad transformation rates.

 

Knowing how to utilize Twitter Analytics gives many advantages to your business. For example, you can use it to decide the days and times your audience is generally dynamic or analyze your ads’ profit from speculation.

Twitter API:
The Twitter API (computerized programming connection point) permits you to cause programs that collaborate straightforwardly with Twitter.

 

There are numerous ways that this instrument can help your business. You can make your own channels to get constant data on just the most essential Tweets or make custom audiences.

 

Not every person with a Twitter account approaches the API. To utilize it, you initially need to apply for a developer account.


Key tips and tricks:
A Tweet is a 280-character fresh slate. It isn’t always simple to know how to impart your brand’s message on Twitter.

 

These tips and tricks will guide you to make Twitter content that gets results.

 

  1. Keep it Concise: Simple, Short, and Clear. That’s how your tweets should be! Remember, you’ve got limited characters.

  2. Keep It Organic: People don’t really talk to brands, do they? So why talk like one! Keep engagement on a high by toning down on the formal end.

  3. Engage with People: If you’re just broadcasting out into the Twitterverse, it’s easy for your audience to tune you out. And you don’t want a passive audience. The more engagement you get, the more visible you are.

  4. CTAs: Good business Twitter use strikes a balance between conversational Tweets and advertorial content. The traditional best practices of ad copy still apply on Twitter. And knowing how to write a good CTA never goes out of style.

  5. Use the Emojis: Emojis help you cut down on long words with little emoticons to help get your points across. Tweets with emojis generate more engagement than those without!

  6. Trending Hashtags: Hashtags cut through the noise of Twitter to get your Tweets seen by people who are interested in a specific topic.

  7. Add Some Visuals: Twitter isn’t a picture-based platform, so that’ll help you cut through the crowd with more visuals paired with a fresh tweet. Tweets that include a visual element (an image or a video) generate more engagement than those that don’t.

  8. Time Your Tweets: Don’t waste your perfectly crafted content by tweeting it when no one’s around to see it. Use Twitter Analytics to track when your Tweets get the most engagement.

  9. Frequency of Tweets: In most cases, it’s best to tweet more than one or two and fewer than three to five times per day. There are several ways to schedule your Tweets so that they come out at the right frequency. Twitter has a built-in scheduling feature to ease your burden.

From The Facebook to Facebook to Meta

Facebook has changed considerably since we initially logged in in 2008. Back then, Facebook was still called “The Facebook.” Facebook has advanced dangerously fast since then, and it’ll continue to adapt and improve at a quick speed however long it exists. Multiple updates and new features are rolling out regularly, but the core concept and workings have not changed essentially. It’s a place where you can connect and network. Being an expat, you can find like minded people and even make friends via Facebook groups.

It is now going to turn into a metaverse wherein we can interact in virtual worlds focused on social connections. Metaverse is however still in its introductory phase so we will see if it will be able to replace Facebook in the near future. 

What is Facebook
Facebook is a social media network that interfaces individuals through an online platform. By sharing content like messages, status, posts, images, videos, and outside joins like blog entries, Facebook clients can contribute thoughts and discuss with others who share something similar or various interests. As well as sharing their thoughts, clients can draw in with the content others share on Facebook by responding to it with a like, a laugh, anger, surprise, and care reaction. Facebook is a great tool to gather feedback on your product/service and also to promote special offers to your target audience.

Organizations can utilize their Facebook Pages to stay in contact with their customers, target new ones, and offer direct customer support. To completely comprehend Facebook and how it functions, you’ll need to get comfortable with common terms utilized on the platform. Here is a rundown of key Facebook terms and what they mean.

What is Facebook Business
A Facebook Business or Facebook Page is open to all public accounts from Facebook that brands can set up based on their own theme and branding. It may also be used as a social page for Public Figures, artists, and people alike. These pages or Business accounts allow users to share contact information, post updates, share content, promote events and releases, and stay linked with their audience.
These pages can easily be integrated with profiles and Facebook shops to offer a broader package for businesses.

Create a Business Page

Before you can sign up for your Facebook Business Page, you have to log into your own Facebook account. You don’t need to worry: the data from your personal account won’t become public on your business page.

This is a relevant question because business pages often have more than one-page manager. The moderators are individuals with each their own individual Facebook accounts. Your personal account works like the way to give you access to your new business page. If you have partners assisting you with your business page, their own accounts will have equal access to the business as an admin account.

Along these lines, in case you’re not currently logged into your own account, log in now; otherwise, click on Sign Up to get started.

Setup Your Personal Account

To sign up for a Facebook account, follow these three easy steps.

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. Mobile number or email
  4. New password
  5. Birthday
  6. Gender.

Click Sign Up.

After you’ve signed up for a Facebook account, you can adjust your privacy settings to control who can see your profile and information. Follow these four simple steps to change your privacy settings.

  1. Click the arrow (downward-pointing blue triangle) on the top right corner of any Facebook page.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Select Privacy from the sidebar.
  4. Set who is allowed to see your posts and how people can contact you.

Set Up a Business Page

To create a page for your business, follow these steps.

Visit the Facebook website and Open your Facebook profile.

Basic Setup:

  1. At the top of the homepage, select Create and choose Page.
  2. Name your page, and make sure to spell your business name out correctly.
  3. Add a category to describe your pages, such as a marketing agency or restaurant.
  4. Enter business information, such as address and contact information; the more detailed, the better!
  5. Select Continue.

Page Setup:

  1. You can add a profile photo to your page, then add a photo or business logo and click next.
  2. You can add a cover photo to your page. Similarly, add a cover or banner and click next.
  3. You may skip either of the pictures if you desire.
  4. Select Next to go to your new page when you have completed the steps.

Extra Setup:

  1. Link your website.
  2. Add a bio or about section for your business.
  3. Add as many helpful images as possible (menus for restaurants).
  4. Connect to Whatsapp Business (if any).
  5. Connect to Instagram Account (if any).
  6. Vanity URL (create a username in settings).
  7. Add business details (working hours, location, holiday timings, etc.).

Now Post! Ready, Set, Post!


The primary motivation behind Facebook is to help friends and family interface with one another. You can stay on top of your contacts’ minds by refreshing your status once in a while. To share a Facebook status, go to the text box at the highest point of your news feed page or on your profile page.



Types of posts:

  1. Feeling/Activity/Update
  2. Check In
  3. Tag Friends/Followers
  4. Tag Event
  5. Ask for Recommendations
  6. Poll
  7. Support Nonprofit
  8. Answer a Question
  9. Lists
  10. Facebook Stories

Open and Facilitate a Group


The Groups page on Facebook will show you which groups you oversee and those you are a member of. Likewise, you can find groups to join depending on Facebook’s ideas and a huge load of different factors.

To get to the Groups page, tap the Home button, and afterward, on the left sidebar, you’ll see the Explore segment, where you can click Groups.

Facebook Groups address an organic chance to contact many individuals keen on particular themes, yet without paying for ads. Joining and presenting on a pertinent Group as your Facebook Page helps individuals interested in your posts navigate your business page rather than your own profile. 

This feature gives Facebook a major advantage over Linkedin and is a great way of building community.


Page Insights


The more data you have about your audience, the more targeted your content becomes and the better you can fulfill their necessities.

Facebook Page Insights makes it simple to assemble information regarding how your fans communicate with your Page and the content you share. To get to Page Insights, click Insights in the Manage Page menu.

Insights give you data about your Page’s general execution, remembering a few information for audience demographics and engagement. You can see measurements on your posts so you can see the number of individuals you’re coming to.

You’ll likewise perceive the number of remarks and responses are acquired from explicit posts-information that assists you with arranging future content.

Connect and Like Other Pages


Since Facebook is, all things considered, a social media platform-based organization, it’s really smart to involve your Page to construct a community for your business.

One method for building a community is to associate with other pages pertinent to your business (but not competitors).

For instance, assuming that you run a shop in a famous shopping region or shopping center, you could interface with different shops in your area. For example, consider this an internet-based adaptation of your neighborhood business improvement affiliation or office of trade.

Assuming you have a virtual business, you could associate with different companies in your industry that could offer extra benefits for your customers without contending with your offerings.

Look Into These Useful Features

  1. Events:
    The Events page on Facebook will show you any forthcoming occasions popular with your Facebook friends or have been set up by the groups you take part in. Likewise, you can observe events dependent on their date, area, and class.
  2. Marketplace:
    Facebook competes with Netflix in the streaming business; they also rival eBay in the commercial industry. With Facebook Marketplace, you can peruse for a wide range of items, join groups to trade items with individuals in your space or who share comparative interests, search for items sold from various shops, shop by category, and sell your own items.
  3. Pinned Posts:
    Is there important data you need all guests to your Page to see? An advancement you don’t want them to miss? A top-performing piece of content you need to flaunt? Put it in a pinned post.

A pinned post sits at the highest point of your Facebook Business Page, right under your cover picture. It’s an incredible spot to put something eye-catching that will attract your guests and make them want to stay close by.

About the Author 

Nabeha Latif is a Digital Media/Branding Consultant specializing in leveraging online marketing channels to achieve desired goals. Since her majors in digital marketing, she has collaborated with names like UN, Ali Baba Inc, Uber, UNESCO, UNDP, etc., to name just a few. She is also actively involved in providing business development services related to marketing.

NABEHA LATIF
Social Media Consultant

Since the beginning of this pandemic in the spring of 2020, numbers of teams have become virtual, on and off, depending on the surges of the virus and the decisions of their respective companies and governments. Virtual teams, of course, already existed before that, but they have now become a common practice. And now that this phenomenon has become routine, many have focused on this new problem: fostering psychological safety, particularly in remote teams, because it is quite challenging to do so in such a context. Discussions on diversity and inclusivity have been all the rage in recent years (and still are, of course, as we have yet to achieve a perfectly diverse and inclusive world), but psychological safety has become a subject of interest, fueled by the unusual circumstances of this pandemic.

But what is psychological safety, exactly? It is the belief that team members have when they are comfortable enough to ask questions or contribute ideas without fear of being judged, punished (in more extreme cases losing their job), or humiliated for not knowing something or making mistakes. Wondering what the difference is between trust and psychological safety? It’s rather subtle: trust is an essential component of psychological safety, as it is defined as “the extent to which we hold expectations of others in the face of uncertainty about their motives, and yet are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable’ (Geraghty, 2020). It is how you view other people and how you find them predictable and how you think you can rely on them whereas psychological safety is about how others view you or rather how you think they view you.

Hirsch, Wendy: Five Questions About Psychological Safety, Answered. Science for Work, 9 October 2017, https://scienceforwork.com/blog/psychological-safety/.

But let’s get back to psychological safety. When you eliminate the fear of judgment, your team members can not only be themselves, but they will be their best selves, as they will be allowed to be innovative, creative, and agile, and most importantly, ask for help when needed. Diversity of thought is a great advantage for success (Page, 2008), and this is where psychological safety comes in: “Without behaviors that create and maintain a level of psychological safety in a group, people do not fully contribute — and when they don’t, the power of cognitive diversity is left unrealized” (Reynolds and Lewis, 2018). 

Psychological safety doesn’t happen from one day to the next, though. It needs work, it requires everyone’s participation, and a profound culture change. Everyone needs to go through four stages to feel safe. According to Timothy Clark, these are inclusion safety, learner safety, contributor safety, and challenger safety (Clark, 2020). Psychological safety needs work, a change of attitude and a change of culture.

Increase mistake tolerance

Based on the belief that nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes, even if we work hard and try our best, the idea here is to change our mindset and stop viewing failures only as such but as learning opportunities. Teams with better psychological safety will not correct others for a mistake they made to put them down, they will tell them to help them. Amy Edmondson published a study in 1999 in which she coined the term “Psychological Safety.” In it, she reported conversations she had with employees she interviewed for her study. In one of those conversations, a lady told her that before her team decided to offer a better psychologically safe environment, when someone would point out a mistake she made, she would take it as a reproach and would then be on the lookout for a mistake that person would make to be able to blame her in return. After the team made psychological safety a priority and had worked on it for a while, it totally changed her perception and in turn, that changed her behavior. She reported that she viewed it then as a learning opportunity because her colleague would do it purely to help her and help the team make better products (Edmondson, 1999, p.371). Some companies have even created special events to discuss this so that not only the employee making the mistake learns from it, but the whole team (or even a larger circle) does too.

Exercise 1: Hold an Anxiety Party. 

The Google Ventures team decided to implement this because when they were created, they had a rather flat hierarchy and although they appreciated all the advantages and liberties that brought, the team found they lacked critical feedback. They came up with the idea of an Anxiety Party: they hold this type of meeting a couple of times per year, where all team members have to write a list of everything that causes them anxiety. Then, everyone shares and the other team members have to rate the level from the most to the least worrying (5 – you really need to improve in this area to 0 – I didn’t even realize this was an issue). They realized most of the time, people worried for nothing. The score generally makes people feel relieved and stop worrying about non-issues and focus on what actually needs improvement (the 5s and 4s to start with). This is a great psychological safety exercise since the issues are brought up by the people who have them and feedback is then easier to accept.

Keep your biases in check, remember Hanlon’s Razor to adopt a more positive mindset

Hanlon’s razor principle is the assumption that when something goes wrong, it is more likely accidental rather than the result of ill will, or as Hanlon wrote: “Never attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Ok, well, stupidity may not be the most probable cause, since hopefully, your team is not stupid, but let’s say humans can sometimes be absent-minded, tired, distracted, overworked, etc. Simply put, when someone makes a mistake, one shouldn’t assume it was intentional. This rule of thumb will help cultivate understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and trust in your team.

Take the case of an email that gives the impression that a colleague was rude or too blunt; you can probably rightly assume that this is purely a miscommunication problem (maybe English is not their mother tongue, or the author is from a culture where things are said in a direct manner, but it isn’t meant to be offensive, or maybe you just misinterpreted things). When in doubt, clarify things in person or on a video call. The use of emojis might also help avoid tone misreadings when you are the one sending a message. Some might not be comfortable using them in a professional setting, but they really can help prevent certain types of misunderstandings. Modifying your biases and assuming good intentions in people can go a long way!

Exercise 2: Ask powerful questions. 

When you doubt someone of the wrongdoing, ask these powerful questions (From Douglas W. Hubbard, 2009, cited in Vinita Bansal, no date):

  • Why do I feel this way?
  • What data do I have to justify that the other person acted out of bad intention?
  • Are there other instances where they acted this way?
  • Have I spoken to them about it?
  • What is the probability that I am incorrect?
  • Could I be biased at the moment?
  • What other possible reasons could make them behave this way?

Make it a Habit for Everyone to Speak Up and Participate

First, team leaders need to prioritize psychological safety explicitly. Ground rules must be laid down and applied. Leaders, alongside their team, need to establish how failure is handled (no punishment for failure despite efforts, reasonable risks taken, and good faith). They should make failure an opportunity to learn and, above all, to share collectively the lessons learned thanks to failure (which will be not only a learning opportunity but also one to create a safe space for others to know that we can all admit our failures, contributing to this safe space). Finally, teams need to learn how to accept and adopt productive conflict. That is to say, having constructive discussions, allowing questioning, and accepting contesting can be done, by following certain ground rules, such as respect, listening, honesty and kindness, for everyone to feel safe doing it. Even when there is no conflict, nothing delicate to discuss, making sure every team member has to participate should become a habit. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure everyone speaks. To do so, they might use different methods to ensure everyone gets the chance to speak. For example, one can give each a turn to speak, or when with a bigger group, use break rooms to facilitate everyone having time to speak up. Speaking up in smaller groups is also easier, less intimidating. The team must try different methods to ensure everyone gets turns speaking up.

Exercise 3: Create a space for idea sharing. 

Try creating a particular space for ideas (new, crazy, or maybe even bad ideas), whether during meetings or on a specifically dedicated Slack channel, for example. That way, people know there is at least this time or space where they are not only allowed but purposefully encouraged to brainstorm, share and contribute whatever they have on their mind, knowing this frame is meant for it and is a safe space to do so.  

Exercise 4:  Accept Silence to Give Time to Reflect. 

For everyone to have a chance to speak, people need to learn to be more comfortable with silence. For example, during Zoom meetings, participants tend to be uncomfortable when silence arises and tend to want to fill it (or hope someone else will). Doing so can prevent others in your team from speaking up. Sometimes, people simply need more time to reflect before answering or formulating their ideas before communicating them, especially non-native speakers. Some are just shy or new in the company or in that position, and don’t have the confidence yet to speak.  We all need that extra few seconds to muster up our courage to share that original idea or important concern, sometimes. Leaders have to remember that reflective silence is valuable and to purposely give time for everyone to have a chance to speak-up, even if that means letting an uncomfortable silence last longer (it’s not thaaaat painful, is it… and something might come out of it!). To avoid experiencing a more detached type of silence, you can let your team members know in advance what kind of input you are expecting from them at the next meeting a bit in advance.

Exercise 5: Value diverse perspectives. 

Diversity of ideas and perspectives is a major factor in creative and innovative thinking. It is one of the important factors to success (Page, 2017, 2:45). To encourage this, ask everyone to play the devil’s advocate alternately. That way, people have to think differently, and it takes away the risk (real or perceived) that the rest of the team will judge them for having different, crazy, or “negative” ideas or points of view, a point of view that could help your team solve problems and even foresee them, before they become one. This strategy using a cooperative approach instead of a competitive one, will be more effective to advance the reflection on the problem discussed (e.g. your product has a bug and you need to find a solution) and will help develop respectful debate habits simultaneously (Menzies, 2018).

Exercise 6: Promote courageous conversations. 

Sometimes a product or a project is just not as good as it could be. But team members don’t always dare say so, even if they can put the finger on what the problem might be. You can pave the road to openness by having sessions, specifically for any critiques or frustrations anyone may have with a product/project, without fear of negative consequences. Everyone must listen without interrupting. After this, everyone has to offer solutions to the problem

Exercise 7: Hold a blameless post-mortem.  

Another way to promote difficult conversations is having blameless post-mortems. The goal here is not to find out who made mistakes but what could be changed in the processes to avoid those mistakes being made in the future and improve performance. This method prompts team collaboration. If you are looking for more exercises and methods to promote courageous conversations or support psychological safety in other ways, have a look at this great article from Fearless Culture.

Exercise 8: Apply the method of “liberating structures”. 

This method was developed by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless to enable everyone’s participation in large groups. During a meeting, to ensure everyone’s input on a specific matter, first ask everyone to reflect and take notes on the question/problem at hand for one minute. Then, everyone must regroup in pairs and discuss for two minutes, then for four minutes in groups of four (matching previously existing pairs), before finally discussing the matter with the whole group. The advantage here is that all have a chance to offer their ideas. It is less intimidating to do in small groups. Also, while still in smaller groups of 2 and 4, ideas can already be compared, reflected upon, the best can be chosen to be discussed at the next level, before they are brought up in front of the whole group. There is admittedly a very limited time for feedback, but an idea can be discussed further if it wasn’t bad enough to be eliminated at the end of a round. It nonetheless enables the improvement of the ideas before they are discussed at a higher level. This type of structure also helps avoid control or influence of the boss on the discussion, leading to a more restricted discussion and what is practical and effective, is that this structure drives the discussion to convergence.

Exercise 9Encourage impromptu conversations to build trust. 

Needless to say, in a virtual team, psychological safety is even more of a challenge to uphold.  Because trust is usually established through time and interactions, virtual teams do not have many interactions outside the scheduled meetings. Those team members don’t have the opportunity to have spontaneous, “non-business” conversations. This is why it is vital for those teams to create opportunities for such social contact. These casual conversations can foster better bonding and better relationships, which in turn facilitate communication and improve psychological safety.

For example, some might want to have different types of calls or communications, namely having a “good morning” call or (message for the whole team on a Slack channel) to start the day with a more casual conversation. Bigger organizations might want to have a dedicated video call open for anyone to drop in and chat as if they were on their coffee break. 

Exercise 10: Read body language and facial expressions.

One might think that virtual teams are at a disadvantage because it is so much more challenging to establish trust with so little contact and through a screen, and it is not entirely false, but there can be some advantages too. Online social contacts through video calls can be an opportunity to really try to understand the person talking on the screen and read their tone, body language, and facial expressions to feel what they might be feeling. It also might be easier for some people to intently look at their colleagues through a screen as they usually (hear in person) wouldn’t dare or be comfortable doing it so attentively. Indeed, as Altman underlined, “[i]n many cultures, it can be awkward to stare at someone for 30 seconds or certainly minutes at a time. But on Zoom, no one knows who you’re looking at, and your ability to apply your emotional intelligence can sometimes be enhanced.” Not only can it be helpful for employees who grew up in a culture where one can’t look directly in someone’s eyes for too long, but also for some neuroatypical people who are not comfortable doing it either. 

Take your time!

One might think that virtual teams are at a disadvantage because it is so much more challenging to establish trust with so little contact and through a screen, and it is not entirely false, but there can be some advantages too. Online social contacts through video calls can be an opportunity to really try to understand the person talking on the screen and read their tone, body language, and facial expressions to feel what they might be feeling. It also might be easier for some people to intently look at their colleagues through a screen as they usually (hear in person) wouldn’t dare or be comfortable doing it so attentively. Indeed, as Altman underlined, “[i]n many cultures, it can be awkward to stare at someone for 30 seconds or certainly minutes at a time. But on Zoom, no one knows who you’re looking at, and your ability to apply your emotional intelligence can sometimes be enhanced.” Not only can it be helpful for employees who grew up in a culture where one can’t look directly in someone’s eyes for too long, but also for some neuroatypical people who are not comfortable doing it either.

Psychological safety is not something that is built overnight. Actually, “build” is not quite the right idea here, as psychological safety is not something you can ever 100% achieve and be done with. There will always be new people joining the team, setbacks, phases so that it will always remain a work in progress. It has to be the object of constant attention and perpetual efforts. All of this seems like a lot of work, and it is. But shifting your mindset to a more understanding and caring attitude is half the job. And since psychological safety was proven to make employees happier and perform better, it’s probably one of the most profitable changes you can bring to your work. It’s a win-win!

About the Author

Anne-Kristelle Carrier has an MA in International Politics. She has been living in Switzerland since 2010 and works as a Content Editor for Global People Transitions Ltd. in Zurich. When she is not working, bringing her kids to all their activities, or trying to cook something that they will eat (that doesn’t start with “chicken” and ends with “nuggets”), she enjoys everything Switzerland has to offer to residents and tourists alike, like ski slopes, Wanderwege, and museums.

References

Bansal, Vinita, (no date), Hanlon’s Razor: ‘How To Be Less Judgmental And Build Better Relationships,’ TechTello. Available at: https://www.techtello.com/hanlons-razor/ (accessed on 3 February 2022).

Clark, Timothy. The Four Stages of Psychological Safety, Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation, 2020, Random House, New York.

Edmondson, Amy. Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Jun., 1999), pp. 350-383. (Available online at https://web.mit.edu/curhan/www/docs/Articles/15341_Readings/Group_Performance/Edmondson%20Psychological%20safety.pdf)

Geraghty, Tom, The Difference Between Trust and Psychological Safety, 16 November 2020, https://www.psychsafety.co.uk/the-difference-between-trust-and-psychological-safety/

Hubbard, Douglas W., Failure of Risk Management, 2009, Hoboken (New Jersey).

Hirsch, Wendy. Five Questions About Psychological Safety, Answered. Science for Work, 9 October 2017, https://scienceforwork.com/blog/psychological-safety/.

Lipmanowicz, Henri and Keith McCandless, Liberating Structure 1: 1-2-4-All. https://www.liberatingstructures.com/1-1-2-4-all/, retrieved 15, January 2022.

Menzies, Felicity. How to Develop Psychological Safety and a Speak-Up Culture.   https://cultureplusconsulting.com/2018/03/10/how-to-develop-psychological-safety/, retrieved 4 January 2022.

Page, Scott E.Diversity creates bonuses. It’s not just a nice thing to do.LinkedIn News Youtube channel, retrieved 10 January 2022.

Page, Scott E. (2008) The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

Razetti, Gustavo, 9 Exercises to Promote Psychological Safety in Your Organization, How to Encourage Courageous Conversations at the Workplace. https://www.fearlessculture.design/blog-posts/exercises-to-promote-psychological-safety-in-your-organization

Reynolds, A. and Lewis, D., The Two Traits of the Best Problem Solving Teams, Harvard Business Review, 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/04/the-two-traits-of-the-best-problem-solving-teams.

https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/creating-a-high-trust-performance-culture/

Paul J. Zak is the author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies.