Webinar Recording: “Psychological Safety as a Foundation for Continuous Improvement”


I hope you were able to join me as I presented a free webinar as part of the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Webinar series:

Psychological Safety as a Foundation for Continuous Improvement

The recording is now available via the link just above.

This is a webinar version of a talk I gave two weeks ago at the annual KaiNexus User Conference, KaiNexicon. I think it went well, but here is my opportunity to practice some continuous improvement and share this with a broader audience.

My presentation will explore the connections between Psychological Safety and Continuous Improvement, using examples from Toyota, KaiNexus, and other companies.

I will explore how we can assess the current state of Psychological Safety in teams or across a broader organization. I'll also discuss what leaders can do to help create conditions where employees feel safe enough to speak up about mistakes, problems, and improvement ideas. 

We'll do some interactive polling along the way, so be sure to tune in live to be part of that and to ask questions.

Here is a quick preview of the webinar:

I hope you'll join us Thursday! If you cannot attend live, register anyway and we'll send you a link to the recording.

Enter to Win My Book!

We will give away three signed copies of Mark Graban's new book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation.

To enter, please re-post the LinkedIn Event about this webinar and use the hashtag #KaiNexus. Winners will be announced during the live webinar.


Morgan Wright: Hi. This is Morgan Wright. I'm the customer marketing manager here at KaiNexus. I am joined today by Mark Graban, the one and only. Today, we'll be doing a short podcast preview for his upcoming webinar later this week, “Psychological Safety as a Foundation for Continuous Improvement.”

Again, that will be later this week, on Thursday, June the 8th, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Eastern time. If you haven't already signed up, make sure to get to our website and navigate to the webinars page. You'll find the registration there. Mark, thanks for joining us today. How are you doing?

Mark Graban: Hey, Morgan. I'm great. I'm excited about the webinar. Get to turn the tables and be the presenter this time. You've presented three of them in that Habits series recently. Thank you for, this time, playing the role of host.

Morgan: Of course. I had played host before. Now, being on the other side, it's fun playing host again. Thanks for letting me do that. [laughs]

Mark: Of course.

Morgan: Today, we're going to chat a little bit about your upcoming webinar. I know I was lucky enough to see you speak a couple of weeks ago at KaiNexicon. For those of us or for those of you who weren't able to see Mark speak, tell us a little bit about what is the high-level theme of your upcoming webinar.

Mark: Thanks, Morgan. You're kind. I was going to say you were subjected [laughs] to it a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, I think it went well. We're happy to be able to share this with a broader audience here this week, in the webinar format.

The title says the main theme will be talking about psychological safety, not just what it is, but why it's such an important foundation or a precondition for an organization to have a culture of continuous improvement.

At KaiNexus, we're passionate about spreading continuous improvement. For that to happen, we need to have at least a high enough level of psychological safety in our workplace. As I'll share in the webinar, there are ways of trying to measure at least the perceived level of psychological safety in a workplace.

We've done that at KaiNexus. None of us would say we're perfect, but the level of psychological safety within KaiNexus is relatively high compared to other organizations. That's part of what allows KaiNexus to have a good culture of continuous improvement, a culture of learning from mistakes.

In the webinar, I'm going to tie some of it back to Toyota, who we often look to as a model, not just for problem-solving and continuous improvement, but there's also a lot of evidence, both explicit and implicit, about Toyota being a workplace with a high level of psychological safety, where people feel safe to speak up about problems, mistakes, ideas, things like that.

Some of this might be familiar to people. For some, this might be a little bit of new lingo around psychological safety. Again, not just what it is. Why it's so important to companies like Toyota and KaiNexus, as different as our two companies are, and then a little bit about what leaders can do to actually create the conditions for higher levels of psychological safety.

It's a lot to cover in about 40 minutes, but we'll do a little bit of interactive polling and surveying and try to make it a little bit interactive as well.

Morgan: Awesome. Mark, I know that we've been on this journey for the past year or so, talking about psychological safety just internally. I feel like it's been really valuable to see you and the other leaders in KaiNexus really modeling this behavior. Admitting mistakes themselves makes it feel much more safe to admit or make those mistakes like we all do.

Mark: I'm glad you pointed that out. Talking about some of the terminology and the concepts is the first thing, but it builds upon the actions that have been happening pretty much through the whole…This is my 12-year KaiNex-iversary…

Morgan: Wow. [laughs]

Mark: …involved with the company. That's been the culture that Greg and Matt and Jeff and others have really tried to build, a culture where people react constructively when a mistake happens. That's something I'm happy to see when there's these moments where leaders are leading by example and admitting mistakes, and then reacting kindly and constructively when others make mistakes.

That just sets a good foundation. We can't just talk our way to psychological safety or train our way to it. Like you said, it really comes down to what your leaders and what your colleagues are doing. What are their behaviors? What are their actions? We'll share some of that again on Thursday.

Morgan: I couldn't agree more. I think it's going to be really cool. I'm excited for everyone who hasn't been able to join to be able to hear a little bit about what you've been really working on for quite a while.

We're going to jump gears a little bit here. I know you have a book coming out later this month. I'm really excited. This is so cool.

Mark: Thanks.

Morgan: Tell us a little bit about what can the readers expect from your upcoming book.

Mark: Here. This is just a mock-up of the cover. It's not an actual book, but people who are watching on YouTube can see the title is “The Mistakes That Make Us.” The subtitle is “Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation.” It's going to be available later in June.

Similar to some of the stories and concepts that are in the webinar, psychological safety is one of the themes in the book, The Mistakes That Make Us. We can't just tell people that they should speak up and admit mistakes or that they should be brave and challenge the status quo.

The book is really about building a culture where we're actually able to learn from mistakes. There's a foundation of psychological safety, being able to learn from mistakes. As Greg Jacobson, our co-founder CEO has said — I quote him in the book — you can't have a culture of continuous improvement without a culture of learning from mistakes.

This builds upon itself and, really, to the end goal of business success. We're learning more. We're innovating. That leads to growth and business success. A lot of it comes down to, again, how do we not just react to mistakes when they occur? We're all human. We all make mistakes.

At the same time, there are lessons from Toyota and even some of the practices within KaiNexus of what we do to try to help prevent mistakes, checklists that we use for the webinar planning and for the day of execution.

Those checklists don't guarantee. When I'm in the role of host, it doesn't guarantee I won't make a mistake, but it sets us up for success. That checklist has evolved to where every time, as a planner or organizer or host, I make a mistake or when Greg has made a mistake, we'll go and update the checklist.

We'll try to focus on the learning and how do we update the checklist to put something in there that helps us. We're not relying on “Hey, don't forget.” Knock on wood. I've never forgotten to hit record, but if that were to happen, the response wouldn't be to say, “Hey, remember not to make that mistake again.”

You can put some countermeasures in place. For example, Zoom webinars, you can set it to automatically start recording when you start the session. That would be a good example of mistake-proofing, which is one of the other themes from the book.

Again, the book is The Mistakes That Make Us. The webinar on Thursday is not a sales pitch for the book, but it's interrelated. I do appreciate you letting me talk about the book a little bit here, in the preview.

Morgan: Of course. Tell us a little bit about where people can get your book once it comes out.

Mark: People can learn more at mistakesbook.com. Currently, as we're recording this on Monday, June 5th, if people want the Kindle version through Amazon, that can be pre-ordered today. Later this month, the print editions. There'll be a paperback. For people who might want a hardcover version, those will be available, first off through Amazon.

People can order signed copies if they want, or they can do a bulk order through me at mistakesbook.com. It'll eventually work its way through the supply chain to other retailers in late June or, in some cases, into early July, depending on where people prefer buying their books.

Morgan: Awesome. Thank you for your time today. So looking forward to Thursday and hearing more. Have a great rest of your week. We'll see you then.

Mark: All right. Thanks, Morgan. Please go to kainexus.com/webinars to get signed up. We'll see you then.

Morgan: See you then.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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