Our Ability to Speak Up in a Workplace Setting is a Function of Culture


I was recently a guest (for a second time) on a fun podcast called “The 30 Minute Hour” with hosts Eric Twiggs and Ted Fells.

Eric was a guest on the “My Favorite Mistake” podcast with me, by the way.

We were discussing my new book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation, and learning from mistakes more broadly.

The full episode is available via Apple and Spotify, as they announced in this LinkedIn post. Thanks to them both for having me on again!

In this short clip, I talk about how a person's ability and willingness to speak up at work, as I say in the book, is not a matter of character or courage… it's a function of culture.


Mark Graban: They are people who speak out. They are people who, by nature, admit mistakes, but then you put them in the wrong workplace environment. Now, suddenly they've learned…I better keep my mouth shut, because I need to keep my job, right?

To me, again, I would say that's not a failure of the person. It's more often the circumstances that they're in, that leaders need to help people feel safe, admitting mistakes, and then they're going to…I've been in and seeing workplaces where people have that ability to admit a mistake and get a constructive response from the organization. Guess what, they're going to keep admitting mistakes and speaking up about problems.

A lot of it is just the workplace dynamics more so than saying like good people, bad people, ethical people, unethical people. It's more a function of culture, I would say.

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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

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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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