Words can inspire creativity—or inhibit it.
E;ective leaders are always looking for
ways to improve their communication
and connection with their team
members. Consider the following:
• Who has a di;erent view?
• Does anyone have a
• Phase one
• Experiment, trial, or pilot
• Unsuccessful trial
Amy Edmondson is
a Harvard Business School
professor and author
of the forthcoming book
The Fearless Organization,
which explores the
The first question asks those with di;erent
views to step away from the group and
identify themselves—a di;cult request in
any room. The latter assumes there are
alternate perspectives and clearly invites
the team to share their ideas or concerns.
Words like experiment acknowledge that
the task is new and the process will raise
questions. They encourage team members to
learn from the first attempt and refine their
e;orts as they jot down ideas. Language such
as phaseone, however, tells employees you
expect perfection from the outset.
Teams learn from failure when they feel safe
to acknowledge mistakes. Avoid words like
error that suggest someone is at fault. The
phrase unsuccessfultrial helps to create
an atmosphere that encourages thoughtful
analysis and continued improvement.
Created by FastCo. Works, in collaboration with Post-it® Brand
Ignite your team’s potential