My Favorite Mistake — 217: Timothy R. Clark on Learning Not to Make Decisions Emotionally; Cultivating Psychological Safety

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

My guest for Episode #217 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Dr. Timothy R. Clark, an organizational anthropologist, and founder/CEO of LeaderFactor, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tim pioneered the field of data-driven cultural transformation and ranks as a global authority in senior executive development. He earned a Ph.D. in Social Science from Oxford University as a British Research Scholar and was a Fulbright Scholar at Seoul National University in Korea.

Tim is the author of five books, including his most recent, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety. I’ve learned so much from this book, his training class, his podcasts, and more.

In this episode, Tim shares his favorite mistake story about a pattern of being overtaken by emotion when making a decision. What did he do about this pattern and what did he learn about hiring people for his company?

We also discuss the concept of “psychological safety” and what leaders need to do to create conditions where people can feel safe speaking up about mistakes, ideas for improvement, and more.

I feel honored that Tim endorsed my new book:

”Making mistakes is not a choice. Learning from them is. Whether we admit it or not, mistakes are the raw material of potential learning and the means by which we progress and move forward. Mark Graban’s The Mistakes That Make Us is a brilliant treatment of this topic that helps us frame mistakes properly, detach them from fear, and see them as expectations, not exceptions. This book’s ultimate contribution is helping us realize that creating a culture of productive mistake-making accelerates learning, confidence, and success.”

Questions and Topics:

Instead of the question I normally start with… how do you define “psychological safety”?
How would you explain “vulnerable acts”?
Why is it so much more helpful for leaders to MODEL behaviors??
You can’t just demand that people “should” speak up in the hierarchy (healthcare or otherwise)??
Why is the safety to learn from mistakes required for innovation to thrive?

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