Tips

Problem: Your Group Lacks Cohesion

Remedy: Boost Safety

  1. Embrace the Messenger

    One of the most important moments for creating safety is when a group shares bad news or gives tough feedback. In these moments, it’s important not simply to tolerate the difficult news but to embrace it. You know the phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger”? The truth is, it’s not enough to not shoot them. You need to embrace the messenger, to tell them how much you appreciate their feedback. That way they feel safe enough to tell you the truth next time.

  2. Use the First Day as a Defining Moment

    When we enter a new group, our brains decide quickly whether to connect. So successful cultures treat these threshold moments as more important than any other. For example, suppose you are hired at Pixar, whether it’s as a director or as a barista in the company café. On your first day, you and a small group of fellow newbies are ushered into the theater where screenings are held. You are asked to sit in the fifth row—because that’s where the directors sit. Then you hear the following words: Whatever you were before, you are a filmmaker now. We need you to help us make our films better. “It’s incredibly powerful,” said Mike Sundy, who works in data management. “You feel changed.”

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