As we approach the end of 2023, it’s that time again—OKR retrospectives and reflections on how well we did over the past 12 months. It’s not just about ticking off goals; it’s about creating an environment where every team member feels safe to share their thoughts, successes, challenges and even their failures!

In any successful team, our ability to reflect, learn and adapt is crucial. This is where the concept of Psychological Safety comes into play—a game-changer for team effectiveness.

Psychological Safety is the bedrock that allows team members to express their ideas, take risks and learn from mistakes without fear of reprisal. It’s the key ingredient that turns a group of individuals into a high-performing team.

As we gear up for our 2023 review and our OKR retrospectives, let’s focus on more than the numbers. Let’s delve into the intangibles—the interactions, the communication and the trust that binds us together. Are our peers and team members comfortable sharing their experiences, even if they fell short of a key result? This is where psychological safety shines.

Reflecting on the year is an opportunity to celebrate achievements, acknowledge struggles and most importantly, reinforce our commitment to each other’s success.  Encourage open and honest discussions about what worked and what didn’t. Remember, the goal isn’t perfection – it’s progress. When team members feel safe to express their challenges and failures we create an environment that allows and encourages innovation and growth.

Some ideas for what to include in your roundup of 2023:

  • Celebrate Wins: Whether big or small, victories are a testament to our collective effort. Celebrate them!
  • Learn from Setbacks: Instead of viewing setbacks as roadblocks, see them as stepping stones to improvement. What did we learn, and how can we apply these lessons moving forward?
  • Recognise Individual Contributions: Behind every successful team are individuals who went above and beyond. Take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the unique strengths each team member brings to the table.
  • Now, let’s inject some energy and fun into the process. Turn your reflections and retrospectives into engaging sessions that leave everyone feeling energised and motivated for the year ahead.
  • Storytelling Sessions: Share anecdotes of personal growth, funny moments, or instances where collaboration triumphed over challenges.
  • Team Building Activities: From virtual escape rooms to collaborative online games and from cooking workshops to creating a collaborative playlist on Spotify; mix in activities that promote teamwork and strengthen bonds.
  • Virtual Awards Ceremony: Recognise team members with light-hearted awards, such as “Tech Wizard”, “Zen Zapper”, Meme Maestro” or “Captain Consistency”

When work is enjoyable, and psychological safety is high collaboration becomes second nature.

So here’s to an amazing review of 2023 and an outstanding 2024!

P.S. What are your favourite ways to foster psychological safety within your team? Share your thoughts in the comments below!