Redefining speak-up culture

Today’s post was originally published on LinkedIn. It is reproduced below.

In many organizations, the “speak up” message has been hijacked by the compliance function.

When employees hear “If you see something, say something,” they think about reporting someone else’s wrongdoing. But a true speak-up culture can and should be much more than that.

A true speak-up culture is one where employees feel safe to share any idea that they believe will help the organization or its stakeholders. It can be an idea about a new product, a more efficient process, a new market, a savings opportunity, or even how to improve your bathrooms.

Feeling safe and trusted is critical to a speak-up culture. In their book Primed to Perform, authors Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor explain how “play” is the most powerful driver of performance. Organizations who allow their employees to be curious, to experiment, and to fail often outperform their peers. And my friends at LRN use the neat acronym “TRIP”: when Trust is high and employees feel safe, they take on more Risk, which leads to Innovation and Performance.

Smart leaders understand the true value of a speak-up culture. They invite feedback and treat it with respect. Each instance is a seed that will grow into trust.

Where there is no trust, more than wrongdoing goes unreported.

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