A Workshop on How to Build a Culture of High Performance and Emotional Safety
In 2020, Victoria was the epicentre of Australia’s worst affected coronavirus pandemic. And the health and hospital system were (and are) the epicentres of the epicentre. It was essentially the eye of the storm.
Late last year, I was invited into the “eye of the storm” to facilitate and promote our flagship product and cultural transformation tool, the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD), to a group of HR practitioners and training facilitators. They were striving to transform the workplace culture of the health system in Regional Victoria into a high-performing network that values excellence.
If you’ve personally experienced being in the eye of a storm in any capacity, you already know what I’m about to say: it’s an incredibly calm zone, and people have an innate ability to get on with the task at hand.
And that’s exactly what this phenomenal group of leaders, practitioners, and educators did.
The Importance of Emotional Safety in a High-Performing Work Environment
Emotional safety is an important element of a high-performing (and disciplined) work environment because of these key reasons:
- It develops confident individuals and teams
- It establishes trust between team members and managers
- It creates open and unbiased channels of communications
- It initiates open and non-judgmental feedback mechanisms
- It builds internally secure individuals across levels
This may sound basic, but let’s face it: few organisations harbor an environment of emotional safety at work. That’s why this ECD facilitated workshop was designed to be a safe and structured program that drives teams to create an emotionally safe environment in the workplace.
Conducting the Workshop in the Middle of the Pandemic
To ensure we could run a successful workshop in the midst of a pandemic, here’s how we set it up:
- As a facilitator who’s based interstate, I was set up to lead the workshop online
- The participants were masked and socially distanced in a room half the size of a basketball court!
- Participants had the ECD cards on hand
- Because of the local courier restrictions, some of the cards didn’t make it in time for our workshop. So some participants had the free printed version – none of this bothered the group in the slightest.
During the workshop, our discussion revolved around this key question: “What do you want your work environment to feel like?”
As a facilitator running an online train-the-trainer style session, I shared and demonstrated what I believe are the two keys to a successful workshop:
- The ECD Workshop Is Like a Game of Cards: The Dealer Goes First
People will only be as brave (or vulnerable) as we are. When others can see it’s safe to do so, they’ll follow suit. So when running an Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) workshop, leaders lead from the front by sharing their card selections and the stories behind those selections. As leaders and facilitators, not only are we leading by example, we are also setting the tone for the session.
- Avoid the Dangers of Groupthink
Groupthink happens when members of the team set aside what they personally believe to be in consensus with the rest of the group. Instead of voicing out their unique opinions or objections, they choose to stay silent to keep the harmony of the group. And this is dangerous because when an individual’s opinions and creative ideas are stifled, this results in poor decision-making and problem-solving.
So to avoid this, everyone must have their own set of cards.
During this train-the-trainer session, a key highlight was observing participants work individually to make their selections and share their stories with gusto. Equally as interesting was the disparity of words yet an intuitive knowing amongst colleagues — a consensus on the definition behind the words.
It’s important that participants avoid groupthink. As humans, we experience different emotions even though we’re working in the same environment. People will feel a range of emotions that often go unspoken.
Collectively sharing their individual stories behind the words brings a certain unity to a team. It’s in this collective unity that teams can then take the leap from their own individual feelings and land on an aggregated set of top emotions they need (and not need) to thrive and succeed as a team.
This ultimately lays the foundations for an employee-led cultural transformation built around high performance and emotional safety.
At Number 8 Consulting, we believe that investing time and money to uncover what feelings help you sink or swim is key to creating change.
One team at a time.
For this reason, we have partnered with riders&elephants to bring our clients the Emotional Culture Deck, a card game designed to help provide leaders with an insanely simple card-based tool for structured face-to-face conversations about workplace culture, feelings, and employee experience.
- Download a free PDF version of the deck here.
- Download the Emotional Workshop Plan for free here. (I can facilitate this workshop for you and your teams if you want a helping hand.)
- Complete The Emotional Culture Online Masterclass course here.
#number8consulting #changeisinfinite #theemotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture #emotionalculturedeck