The Ripple - Edition 3/2021 (Website)

When an environment of psychological safety is not prevalent, things can go very wrong.

"Most people at work, even in high-performing organizations, divert considerable energy every day to a second job that no one has hired them to do:

Take the case of the American financial institution Wells Fargo. Cross-selling has always been a strategy for financial services firms. The fastest way to grow the business is to sell existing customers additional products. Savings accounts, loans, credit cards, etc. are pitched to existing customers who may only have a checking account. In the early 2000s, Wells Fargo adopted a strategy labeled "Going for Gr-Eight". The idea behind the strategy was to get Wells Fargo customers to buy on aver- age 8 products from the bank. Incentive schemes were put in place to help fulfill this strategy. However, this target was not achievable. In an environment lacking psychological safety, employees did not let their superiors know that the targets were unrealistic. Instead they resorted to a series of questionable practices such as opening accounts for customers without their consent, convincing customers to open unnecessary multiple checking accounts, creating fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking - to name just a few.

Preserving their reputations, putting their best selves forward, and hiding their inadequacies from others and themselves.

We believe this is the single biggest cause of wasted resources in nearly every company today."

Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey Harvard University

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