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shows that fear consumes physiological resources, diverting them from parts of the brain that manage working memory and process new information. This im- pairs analytic thinking, creative insight and problem solving. THE SUCCESS FACTOR OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY What is needed is a working environment of "psychological safety". This is defined as "the belief that the work environment is safe for inter- personal risk taking." All of us are subject to subtle inter- personal risks at work. When you are at work - whether explicitly or implicitly - you are being evaluated. An individual higher up in the hierarchy is formally responsible for assessing your performance. Peers and subordi- nates are sizing you up informally all the time. In contrast, it is OK to ask for help or admit failure in a psychologically safe environment. Individuals feel comfort- able to share their concerns and mis- takes without fear of embarrassment or retribution. According to Professor Edgar Schein, an environment of "psycho- logical safety allows people to focus on achieving shared goals rather than on self-protection"
Each organization needs to explore which is the best use of a given techno- logy for their company. To optimize this discovery process, it is critical to have employees who are willing to experiment, take risks and discover where the value added lies to master the digital disruption which is confront- ing their specific organization.
The essential first step to digital maturity
Unfortunately employees in many com- panies do not feel secure enough to take risks or to challenge the status quo. Many managers still believe in the power of fear to motivate. They assume that people who are afraid will work hard to avoid unpleasant consequences. Here's an ALERT to those managers who continue to prescribe to this theory: Brain science has abundantly demon- strated that fear inhibits learning and cooperation. Research in neuroscience
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