Category: Uncategorized

Physician Leadership

I used to be CHRO for 1700 HR specialists. Each of those 1700 people was expert in something, and they knew more than me. In my team I had experts who new more about Comp & Ben, Talent, Facilities, Communication, Safety and Prevention, Customer experience, … than I did.Read More

Strategy is About Behavior: Interview with Sherrin Ross Ingram

Written by David Ducheyne.

Strategy and HR

In 2019 I was one of the SHRM Bloggers. When I was looking through the program of SHRM 2019 Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, I noticed the contribution of Sherrin Ross Ingram, the CEO of the International Center of Strategic Planning (Chicago, USA). Being a former CHRO who helps organizations to execute their strategy, I was immediately triggered. A speaker on strategy on an HR conference?Read More

Three ways to foster psychological safety in your team(s)

This blog is the second in a series of blogs about psychological safety and trust.

Psychological safety, defined as a shared belief that a team is safe for interpersonal risk taking, has been identified as the by far most important characteristic of successful high-performing teams. A team needs to feel safe for expressing ideas, asking questions and admitting mistakes. How can you increase the level of psychological safety in your organization? Here are 3 advices, coming from recent literature.

1. Leaders are imperfect: Model vulnerability

Much depends on the behavior of the leaders of the teams. If they are not inclusive, ready to admit mistakes themselves, a wrong example is given to the rest of the team. One way to foster psychological safety is to acknowledge your own imperfection. It all starts with modeling vulnerability, sharing your personal perspective on work and failures with your employees and encouraging them to do the same. Employees have to experience that their leader is just as human and mortal as themselves.

Moreover, try to invite employees to challenge your own perspective, encourage them to take risks and demonstrate risk-taking in your own work. Give credit to teammates by supporting and representing the team, by expressing gratitude for their contributions and by sharing their work with other parties in the company

2. From passive to active: Demonstrate engagement

We may think it’s sufficient to listen and talk to colleagues or employees, but the way we do it is even more crucial. Only by shifting our perspective from that of the knower to that of the learner, we can build an understanding of another’s perspective. Model curiosity by asking lots of questions with the intention of learning from teammates. Always find mutual alignment by recapturing what has been said and acknowledge areas of agreement and discussion. 

Model curiosity. Only by shifting our perspective from that of the knower to that of the learner, we can build an understanding of another’s perspective.

Furthermore, it may seem obvious but we often forget to be aware of our body language during conversations. This can be as simple as making eye contact, nodding your head to show understanding, leaning towards the person speaking and trying to avoid being on your phone or laptop during meetings. Even your facial expressions matter: Are they unintentionally negative?

3. Dare to speak up: Encourage a healthy culture of ‘debate’

Lastly, it’s beneficial to encourage a healthy culture of ‘debate’ within teams. Teams need opposing opinions to consider other angles of a problem and to think more deeply about their own views. However, crucial is how opinions are presented and perceived by the other team members, in a way that is not personal or emotional. Once an argument is seen as confrontational, teams perform worse. People can’t fully process information when a conflict becomes emotional, so they become irrational and distracted.

The goal is to focus on the facts and ideas instead of the person bringing them. A possible method for doing this is formally appointing roles within the team, such as ‘the devil’s advocate’, which empowers team members to disagree and debate within the safety of playing a role. An opinion or argument needs to be decoupled from the personality of the person voicing it.

Progress comes from new ideas and perceptions, which can only be achieved in a culture that does not suppress, ridicule or silence. That’s what psychological safety is all about.

Otolith helps improving organizations by developing leadership, guiding change and creating people practices.

Building a Feedback Culture: the 2 Questions for HR


The Idea of a Feedback Culture

Many organizations are looking for ways to build a feedback culture. They do this because the organization will benefit from more intensive and qualitative feedback. We know that feedback can be beneficial under specific circumstances. But we also know that in the majority of cases feedback does not work.Read More

When the Number Becomes the Target – On Motivation.


The Story of the Priest

A catholic Priest prepared his sermon for the Sunday Mass. Every week he wrote a sermon which he ‘performed’ in three churches, spread across the city. In total about 30 people would hear his words.Read More

CEO Succession – The King is Dead. Long Live the King

The new CEO

 A company in the hospitality business hired a new CEO, who came from a different industry. As it goes, the CEO went through a short period of induction before he came on stage to address a group of employees. He was kind of nervous about what he could say to these people who worked in an industry he did not know. He thought he had to be inspirational. So what he did marked the end of his reign. He took a powerpoint deck on leadership and governance from his previous company, changed the layout and presented it to the audience.Read More

Does Working Smart Lead to a Better Life?

When Strategies Do not Work

10 signals to see if your company is (not) future proof.

This blog is about the 10 signals that can help you to determine whether or not the organisation you work for is in good shape and future proof.Read More

Trust is like a tree – 8 ways to build Trust.

Trust is essential

Trust is like a tree. Once axed, it takes a long time to have a new tree. That is why any leader should cherish trust within a team. Without trust coöperation becomes difficult, if not impossible. But sometimes you have to work in a situation where there is no trust because there is no relationship. So how do you do that?Read More

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