Imagine the ideal job. Probably the visions of a millennial, a person of Generation X, or a Baby Boomer will be different. Some may prefer open, disruptive spaces, with large tables, no established hierarchy and with everyone working equally, “without bosses”; while others will prefer a closed space, specially created to concentrate, without interruptions, with clearly defined structures and responsibilities. However, I think there is one factor in which all generations will agree, and it is how we should work as a team.
There is nothing more pleasant than the possibility of expressing ourselves with freedom, being able to contribute, give our points of view and perceptions and to tell our experiences, without thinking about what people may say, or without feeling judged. If we were able to extrapolate this to our work teams, wouldn’t we be generating a more fun, harmonious and, more importantly, productive work environment?
According to a study made by Google, this is one of the keys of the best working groups. The main feature is what they call psychological safety. It means that each member of the team feels secure to take risks and it is not afraid to show and be vulnerable to the rest of their team members. Summarising it, having the freedom to express your ideas without fear of being judged. It is that freedom and that relaxed-casual manner when seeking solutions what motivates innovative thinking, and creates a greater fluency and congruency in the most needed moments.
From our areas, I believe it is fundamental to cultivate the culture of trial and error, but without judging and stigmatising error. And I am sure that when you read this, you will think that it is something obvious; but if we already know that the error is good, that it helps us to grow and to look for new ways of doing things, why do we allow our managers to reprimand it continuously? If we think about this, the effect these behaviours have on employees are demotivation, fear of expressing their opinion, and even frustration at not finding the perfect solution. And probably, this ideal solution does not exist or, at the very least, because of the previous effects, they will not stop to look too much.
Within Vodafone, we foster a culture of trial and error, innovation and creativity are our differential tools. And to let both elements flow in their maximum dimension, it is necessary to give employees freedom, to be able to be wrong and to advance. Let’s not make excuses and take the risk to implant it in our organisations!