People Not Tech - Who We Are And Why Psychological Safety

This series of articles could very nearly have been called "Humans at Work" or "The Future of Work is All About Humans" or something to do with Agile or even, the three words that we are religious about at PNT: "KNOWLEDGE, COURAGE and PASSION" but the more I thought about it, the more I believe that we have to start with the most basal of all needs that we are working on: that of feeling secure and our thesis is that, if we are able to use our first POCs and client engagements to put hard numbers on the instinctively obvious connection between Psychologically Secure Teams and broken IT versus Business Silos and productivity and sales, then the world will effectively be a better place because it is only then that Psychological Safety will be elevated from a "nice to have" to a sine qua non condition of success.

If you read the work-history of the founders of our start-up on LinkedIn you’ll find close to 100 years in Tech and HR in big organizations be they in banking, pharma or consulting between us. That’s a long time to ponder all of this and it’s what makes us all so excited to have now, in our relatively old age, found our purpose because looking back at how we’ve learned all that we have about Psychology, software development, product, behavioural economics, start-ups and big corporations, management versus leadership, old ways of work versus Agile and on and on, we are using every droplet of those so that we stay open to learning some more and so we can build what we set out to, which is a software solution that can better the lives of teams working in new ways in enterprises closest to the future of work and therefore, most likely to succeed.

The name of our company in itself is arguably controversial. Being called “People Not Tech” when we are designing a software solution based on machine learning - how much more techy could we get that that ?!?- raises eyebrows and that is precisely why we chose it - because it’s a paradox we are more than willing to explore and debate at every given opportunity, as it contains the crux of the issue - even if we employ technology to enable chemistry at work and to design and foster perfect teams and we use AI, it is never about the software but always about the people. It keeps us honest every day. 

Over the last few months, as we are working on the solution in the background I've written fervently about Leaders and Agile, Agile and DevOps, Why Agile Isn't Out, how the Future of Work needs Questioning, how Soft Skills are Important, how we have to get rid of the Us versus Them mentality how Technology Doesn't Matter, how we're Doing Agile Wrong and how it's So Uncomfortable which is because it's a Way of Thinking Not a Way of Work.

I've also returned time and time again to the fact that successful companies who have used Agile and technology to serve their customer obsession and win - your Googles, your Amazons - they have intensely human organizations that are designed around Knowledge, Courage and Passion and most importantly they've learned how to Make Their People Feel Safe, how to make them Feel Heard.

When LinkedIn approached me about the series, my co-founders gave me a look that I can only suspect meant they are fearing I'm losing my marbles because we are already running 1000 miles an hour but the more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea.

I love it because our journey at PNT, understanding humans at work and proving beyond a shadow of a P&L doubt, that providing them with Psychological Safety while asking them to bring the best Knowledge, Courage and Passion they can muster to the table, will pay off majorly for any company who succeeds, is history in the making and the only way to tell this story is honestly and with our own voices courageously disregarding the risk of being accused of commercial motives (which we openly admit we have!).

What some of you kindly have read and shared from my writings on Forbes is, by nature of the medium, a rather different, analysis driven content of the things we see in the industries we come in contact with - their leaders, their ways of work, their organizational challenges whereas over here and thanks to Linkedin’s genius quest to bring authenticity and connection back, I can be as emotional as the journey dictates, be it deflated and frustrated when doors close or giddy with hope for the future of work and that of our kids alike when we get wind in our sails. 

I’m not exclusively an industry commentator, I am running a company and designing a tech product trying to make intensely emotional history for people in their workplace and that is the story I’ll be telling in this series and I would like you who subscribe, to please keep me to it and if I ever become too PR-ish or disengaged call me on it. LinkedIn is awesome enough that they gave me no editorial constraints so if I stray from the above it’s on me and I will count on you to set me straight.

Judging by the rambling, self-serving, personal tone and sheer length of this post alone, you know what you get yourself into by subscribing but I hope you come on our journey and we make future of work and humans history together!

Over the next episodes I'll tell you about how we've met a Psychological Safety all-time legend, Dr. Amy Edmondson who pioneered the first studies; we'll talk you though the thinking behind designing some of the key features in our solution as well as give you some insight into how we test our questions and what behavioural patterns we investigate; we'll tell you what we are testing in our POCs and lift the veil on some of our initial clients, often some of the most courageous and progressive organizations you will ever hear of; we'll debate the topic of teams, chemistry, future of work, we'll investigate how it all connects to Agile; we'll openly discuss numbers and how all this correlates to hard cash -because neither ourselves nor our clients have any qualms admitting the best kind of world-changing has to be profitable- and, most importantly, we'll all just keep on learning and making together so please subscribe and comment, comment, comment, the dialogue is what will help us build together so stick around and keep us focused on the people, not the technology.


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