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SpeakUp Success Model 1: SpeakUp Culture

Organisations frequently ask that we merge all our insights into one overview. While challenging, this is a request we would love to make an effort for and we came up with the first version of the SpeakUp Success Model. How did we go about this? We created one huge Mindmap gathering all feedback, knowledge and best practices of the past years and we confined them to eight main components. The purpose of the model is to create an all-embracing framework. More importantly, we hope to inspire and encourage an alternative perspective on the topic. The SpeakUp Success Model aims to describe the components which can make this SpeakUp Programme a success. These are:

All eight components are related and intertwine with one another in various ways. Today we summarise the first component ‘SpeakUp Culture’.

Read the full introduction to the model including definitions here.

The first component of a SpeakUp Programme is a ‘SpeakUp Culture’. With this term, we are referring to an organisational commitment to establish a working environment in which participants feel free to speak their minds. This topic is oftentimes tackled by the concept of psychological safety, discussed by Amy Edmondson in 2009. According to Edmondson, psychological safety is a key element in fostering growth and innovation while moving towards more agile working environments – parenthetically, we highly recommend you read Edmondson’s book “The Fearless Organisation” (2018).

While psychological safety and an open SpeakUp culture should be a primary focus, we should never (never!) underestimate the complexity of actually speaking up (read chapter 7 of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, 2008, which we love). Therefore, besides promoting and facilitating an open dialogue, you should always have a safety net in place, a low barrier tool like the SpeakUp system.

Some tips for enhancing the culture component of your SpeakUp Programme:

  • invest in psychological safety
  • have a safety net in place: make sure it is low barrier, e.g., the SpeakUp system
  • integrate the SpeakUp tool throughout the entire SpeakUp Programme
  • actively communicate the tool as something beneficial for the entire organisation
  • make sure that using the SpeakUp tool is collectively encouraged
  • set the tone at the top and practice role modelling
  • give praise to those speaking up; individually and/or publicly (maintaining confidentiality)
  • actively communicate openly (maintaining confidentiality) about SpeakUp Cases, results and successes
  • make speaking up a desired behaviour as part of your Code of Conduct
  • include the topic of speaking up in HR onboardings, the HR cycle and other elements of your culture programme
  • communicate the SpeakUp tool as a last resort
  • establish the SpeakUp tool as a safe channel to ask questions and to seek guidance

In our next blog of the Success Model Series, we discuss the importance of purpose. Stay tuned!

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