Amy Edmondson Outthinkers Podcast

The Right Way to Fail (with Amy Edmondson)

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, renowned for her research over the last 20 years on psychological safety and teaming. Her award-winning work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Psychology Today, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and more. Named by Thinkers50 in 2021 as the #1 Management Thinker in the world, Amy’s TED Talk “How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team” has been viewed over three million times. She is the author of The Fearless Organization, Teaming,  and most recently, Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well.

Amy recently joined the Outthinkers Podcast to discuss:

  • What psychological safety is—and what it is not, with the central idea being grounded in allowing people the space to experiment and fail.
  • The three types of failure, and key characteristics to evaluate what type of failure you might be confronted with.
  • 5 questions you can ask to evaluate whether a potentially high-risk failure you are about to take is, as she calls it “an intelligent” failure so that you can avoid hindering your team’s pursuit of new ideas while also taking on too much of the wrong kind of risk.

Listen to the full episode below.

Episode Timeline

00:00—Highlight from today’s episode

1:06—Introducing Amy + the topic of today’s episode

2:55—If you really know me, you know that…

3:57—What’s your definition of strategy?

4:17—What is psychological safety?

5:06— How does psychological safety relate to performance standards?

6:48—The Bridgewater case

9:02— Logical link between psychological safety and Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well

10:50—What are the three types of failures?

13:59—What do you mean by “unequal license to fail”?

16:10—Assessing ideas through an intelligent failure lens

20:11—How do stakes, reputation, and uncertainty influence intelligent failure?

23:22—Fast fail or fast scale, shifting organizational culture around failure

27:43—Can leaders use AI to eliminate bias in decision-making?

30:06—How to follow Amy and continue learning

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