Creating Safety allows participants to bring up whatever was making them uncomfortable on the safety check. A low safety compromises any meeting, so don’t hold on to your agenda if that happens—instead, work on creating safety.
Running the activity:
- Ask for insights on what could be bringing the safety level down:
“So, put yourself in the shoes of someone who is not feeling safe to talk about some topics. What could be the causes? Please write these on a yellow sticky note and place it on the board.”
This sentence is quite powerful. The safety check is anonymous, but this opens the door for things to be raised in a subtle way. One does not need to say, “I feel unsafe in this or that.” Instead, issues are raised without a first person. This should unearth the causes of lower safety.
- Group the causes on the board based on similarity.
- Ask participants for ideas on how to make people feel safe given the causes:
“Think about the things you could do to help overcome these causes on the board (on one color of sticky notes); please write them on an another color of sticky note and place it next to the cause.”
- Read out all the notes and have a (careful) guided conversation on these. Use your judgement on how to read the notes and conduct the conversation. You should keep in mind that some people might be uncomfortable with some topics and ideas, so do not jump into any conclusions or get people into the spotlight.
- Run the safety check again.
Hopefully, the safety will go up. The important thing is that the safety check results were taken into account and participants (safely) talked about it.
Remote-team advice: This activity works well for remote teams. Use a remote board of your choice.