Executive stretching: brain safety to surf in the VUCA environment

Executive stretching: brain safety to surf in the VUCA environment

October 13, 2021 Latest News 0


As always, difficult times are also full of opportunities. For executives, one of these opportunities is to re-establish the way they work with their teams, create an engagement capable of changing business results in a motivating and sustainable way, both for people and the organization.

Several studies * demonstrate the relationship between brain safety (or psychological safety) and business results.

What is brain safety?

It is the ability to make people feel safe and supported when they make a proposal, an experiment, make decisions, and mistakes.

When people feel safe they are more persistent and engaged, they can ask for help and take risks, they are more open to sharing information and experiences, more productive and innovative.

Many companies invest huge resources to attract talents and evaluate the potential of their employees regularly, but they do not always create facilitating conditions for this potential to be expressed to add value to concrete results.

The key role of executives

Executives have the responsibility, but also the opportunity, to define corporate strategies and shape the organizational culture. What they think, the emotions that drive them, the behaviors they activate communicate what is legitimate or what is not allowed in the entire system they manage.

People development, an elective activity of HR functions, is sometimes detached from company results. . This is why development is considered a complementary activity, to be saved when goals are not met.

Brain safety suggests the exact opposite. By correlating business indicators to the factors that affect brain safety, it is possible to observe how the increase in results corresponds to leaders’ behavioral changes.

The perfect wave is the obsession of every surfer. It takes years of physical and mental practice to understand when to act, to be able to decide quickly and to seize opportunities. Now the wave is forming, huge and unexpected. And executives have the possibility and responsibility to prepare their organizations to surf the wave.

This is the time to start training the capabilities to increase one’s self-awareness, learn to recognize what activates people’s threats or rewards (the basic functioning of our brain) and implement behaviors that mitigate and stimulate such reactions.

Executive stretching is a program to “stretch the muscles of our brain” and train new skills:

  • self-regulate emotions and thoughts under pressure (an extension of the concept of resilience)
  • create safe environments, in which teams can engage to give their best
  • to build an agile organizational culture, in which people spontaneously seek change.

* Julia Rozovsky (Google) – The Five Keys to a Successful Google Team, Jake Herway (Gallup Insitute) – How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety

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