Project Aristotle

Psychological Safety Net

But the key to making our team diligent and productive – particularly in a commercial economy that’s largely dominated by the tech culture – is the idea of “psychological safety.” It was a key finding from Google’s Project Aristotle, a 2012 initiative that looked at why some teams soared, while others fell apart. Simply put: the most productive and satisfied teams, with a high degree marked predictability, became that way because there is a “shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”

The author further points out, “There is a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.” I mention this because I wanted a formal reference to cite that aligns with how I always felt an agency should conduct itself. Of the many things I hope to have in common with my former company, Chandler Chicco, is the religion around respecting, at its core, the value of free exchange; that is, the dynamic often created by spirited yin and yang discussions:

  • disavowal-commitment
  • justification-belief
  • strident-quiet
  • massive-tiny
  • weird-rational
  • rapid-slow

This all pays homage to John Stuart Mills in his book On Liberty. It’s a fun list and a great process especially when what emerges is a masterstroke solution, a bright, important way forward for clients. And ultimately – which is the best case – something positive to help assist patients and consumers in living more happily, productively. (More on CCA inside)