Amy Edmondson

Psychological safety takes off the brakes that keep people from achieving what’s possible. But it’s not the fuel that powers the car. In any challenging industry setting, leaders have two vital tasks. One, they must build psychological safety to spur learning and avoid preventable failures; two, they must set high standards and inspire and enable people to reach them.

How Fearless Organizations Succeed

Amy Edmondson describes three steps leaders can take to create psychological safety, the prerequisite for greater innovation and growth.

Amy C. Edmondson

Closing the gap between strategy and execution may not be about better execution after all, but rather about better learning — about more dialogue between strategy and operations, a greater flow of information from customers to executives, and more experiments. In today’s fast-paced world, strategy as learning must go hand in hand with execution as learning — bypassing the idea that either a strategy or … [ Read more ]

Amy C. Edmondson

We need to think about failure in a more fine-grained way. Failures in organizations fall into three quite different types: unsuccessful trials, system breakdowns, and process deviations. All must be analyzed and dealt with, but the first category, which offers the richest potential for creative learning, involves overcoming deeply ingrained norms that stigmatize failure and thereby inhibit experimentation.

Amy C. Edmondson

An exclusive focus on execution-as-efficiency leads companies to delay, discourage, or understaff investments in areas where learning is critical. It’s a given that switching to a new approach can lower performance in the short run. The fastest hunt-and-peck typist must endure a short-term hit to performance while learning to touch-type, just as the tennis player suffers initially when shifting to a new, better serve. These … [ Read more ]

David Garvin and Amy Edmondson

An environment that supports learning has four distinguishing characteristics: psychological safety, appreciation of differences, openness to new ideas, time for reflection.

Learning Organization Survey

This online diagnostic tool is part of a Harvard Business Review package on organizational learning aimed at helping you judge your own organization’s learning capabilities. It will help you answer key questions, including: To what extent is your unit functioning as a learning organization? and what are the relationships among the factors that affect learning in your unit?

Are Great Teams Less Productive?

While studying teamwork, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson chanced upon a seeming paradox: Well-led teams appeared to make more mistakes than average teams. Could this be true? As it turned out, good teams, which value communication, report more errors. In a recent research paper Edmondson and doctoral student Sara Singer explore this and other hidden barriers to organizational learning.