“Edmondson’s insights that teams are verbs rather than nouns, and that leaders who focus on ‘teaming’ animate a more adaptive work environment, are a major advance in our grasp of leading, organizing, and learning. This is the work of a gifted, hands-on scholar at her best!”
– Karl E. Weick, Professor, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
“After our speakers present, we ask clients to rank their performance on a 1-5 scale. Amy has never received a score lower than “5.” In fact, clients frequently ask if they can assign her a rating of 5000 or five million! They also repeatedly invite her back to deliver keynotes or workshops for new audiences.”
– Joan Powell, President, Leading Thoughts
Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, a chair established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society. Both professionally and personally, Professor Edmondson personifies these values.
Edmondson has been ranked by the biannual Thinkers50 global list of top management thinkers since 2011 (most recently #13) and selected in 2019 as the #1 most influential thinker in Human Resources by HR Magazine. She studies teaming, psychological safety, and leadership, and has written over 70 articles and case studies on leadership, teams, innovation, and organizational learning. She has received numerous awards, including the Accenture Award for significant contribution to improving the practice of management, the Cummings Award for mid-career achievement from the Academy of Management, and one of the 20 Most Influential International Thinkers in Human Resources award by HR Magazine.
Her books – Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, Teaming to Innovate, and Extreme Teaming explore teamwork in dynamic organizational environments. In Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious innovation, she examines the challenges and opportunities of teaming across industries to build smart cities. Her latest book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth, offers a practical guide for organizations serious about success in the modern economy. This book explores the culture of psychological safety and provides a blueprint for bringing it to life.
A beloved professor at HBS as well as a respected and compelling speaker and consultant to corporations, government entities, and nonprofit organizations worldwide, Amy Edmondson typically receives the highest audience evaluations with clients often adding that she changed their thinking and was the best speaker they had ever engaged.
Professor Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University.
What Is a Learning Organization?
Innovation in Teams and Organizations
Collaborative Work Environments and Innovation
Using the dramatic situation of the 2010 rescue of 33 miners trapped 2000 feet underground in the high desert of Chile, I explore the role of leadership in creating an organization that accomplishes remarkable feats against difficult odds. Explaining how the Chilean rescue unfolded serves to highlight a particular kind of leadership that directs and empowers at the same time. The session also emphasize the power of teaming coordinating and collaborating across boundaries of many kinds (knowledge, distance, status). The discussion will emphasize that a top-down, command-and-control approach would have failed utterly, as would pure bottom up (simply encouraging everyone to try anything, which would have produced chaos and harm). Instead, what was required, facing the unprecedented situation and ambiguous context, was coordinated teaming multiple fluid groups of people working separately on different types of problems, and coordinating across groups, as needed. Success, as in today’s pharmaceutical marketplace, also required progressive experimentation. This is a process that requires leadership.
Using video vignettes of various leaders and organizations (e.g., Ed Catmull at Pixar, David Kelley at IDEO, Ferran Adria at El Bulli, or Steve Jobs at Apple, I will introduce and engage executives in a discussion of building a culture of innovation, and the role played by a company’s leadership in accomplishing this. The core emphasis is the paradoxical culture of innovation which is both playful and rigorous, failure tolerant and ambitious, and the role of leadership in building such a culture.
Conquer the most essential adaptation to the knowledge economy
The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent—but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of “fitting in” and “going along” spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought, and the interpersonal climate must not suppress, silence, ridicule or intimidate. Not every idea is good, and yes there are stupid questions, and yes dissent can slow things down, but talking through these things is an essential part of the creative process. People must be allowed to voice half-finished thoughts, ask questions from left field, and brainstorm out loud; it creates a culture in which a minor flub or momentary lapse is no big deal, and where actual mistakes are owned and corrected, and where the next left-field idea could be the next big thing.
Shed the “yes-men” approach and step into real performance. Fertilize creativity, clarify goals, achieve accountability, redefine leadership, and much more. Psychological Safety at Work: How to Ensure Learning and Innovation in the Knowledge Economy helps you bring about this most critical transformation.