I was exposed to a podcast called Invisibilia which had a recent episode called The New Norm.
In the podcast, there was a segment describing an oil rig, one of the most dangerous work environments that exist. It turns out that the manager engaged a leadership activity in encouraging the teammates on the rig to develop a different mental approach to the work.
The standard approach modeled was very macho. The crew members were expected to be physically tough, technically sound and emotionally detached. The expectation was that if you weren’t those things, you would fake it until you make it. As a consequence of the macho culture, the activity showed that many members of the team would work in an environment oozing with fear, incompetence, and ignorance.
Her method was to point out her findings. She introduced exercises to the team designed to let the true feelings and thoughts of teammates come to the surface. As the team became more aware of what each other was thinking, the trust increased as well as the learning.
The result was more production and an 84% reduction in accidents.
Something happens in a trusting, learning environment:
People are humble enough to be vulnerable.
They feel free to say “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.”
They feel free to say “I need help” or “I screwed up.”
They know it’s not possible to know everything. They realize that they have something to learn every day.
There is an openness and enhanced communication in a learning environment.
Humble, competent people, learn every day. They are attracted to environments where they can learn. They’re energized when the learning takes place.