Safe Enough to Soar - Fred Miller, Judith Kat

GoodReads Summary: Some organizations pay a great deal of attention to ensuring the physical safety of their team members, but do the team members feel safe enough to speak up and raise tough concerns or share bold and still-in-formation ideas? In this book, bestselling authors and inclusion experts Frederick A. Miller and Judith H. Katz introduce the concept of "interaction safety" and demonstrate how it can help create a work environment of trust, inclusion, and collaboration.


Don't get me wrong, I do understand where the book is aiming for -- giving people a voice, no matter what -- but I believe it aged badly, mostly due the way culture changed. Also, the analogies/anecdotes are a bit too far fetched, which actually hide the real purpose of "interaction safety".

So, what it is this about: This is, basically, "give everyone a voice, and let them exercise it". All good, I totally agree with this, and a good leadership should always worry about it.

But what isn't specified -- and what I meant by the way the culture change -- is that it misses the point that people will talk to each other more things that just work. How do you give a voice to someone that denies the holocaust? Should you give a chance to someone that keeps bringing "election fraud" in every possible instance? Those are part of a culture shift, in which we started to being more stuff into work. Sure, it makes totally sense to get new input on work subjects, but that would require a good culture inside the company to leave controversial statements outside work outside, and the book doesn't cover that (and I'm all in for controversial statements about work itself).

Also, it lacks some conflict resolution: What if I give a voice to someone, explain the problem with their idea, but they can't concede that it doesn't make sense? Would that person feel fine with it? How do you disarm the possible bomb when constant suggestions are dropped for one reason or the other?

The analogies are also a bad point of the book. Since the authors describe four levels of "interaction safety" in the book, they put a little story for the level. And, obviously, the first level is pretty bad, while the fourth one is all marvelous and people love their work for that. And it gets tiring very early seeing "interaction safety" instead of "conversations" or something like it.

Another problem: The lack of concrete points on how to act. Sure, there are lists like "A company in X level would have this" which you can infer some actions, but a list of "start writing X down", "when you realize comments that sound racist, call the person to explain why they shouldn't say it, instead of calling them out in public" -- which is a real thing people should do to provide safety to the group -- would be a lot more helpful than anything.

Again, I'm not against the aim of the book, I just dislike the way it is presented.