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Psychological safety, an

underestimated factor for

strategy execution


Leonie Arkesteijn




min read

Despite the growing belief in flexible strategies and agile learning organizations, many—if not most—large organizations continue to organize their strategy processes in top-down manner, approaching strategy execution from the conception  ‘strategy as planning’. The main reason this approach is likely to fail is the fact that it is not in tune with a world that is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous  (VUCA). In a VUCA world strategies are hypotheses rather than plans. This asks for testing through action, adjusting based on experience and realizing through learning.  This calls for a ‘strategy as learning’ approach.


Psychological safety is one of the most underestimated factors for strategy execution.

Strategy as learning requires speaking up, dissenting, error reporting, candidly discussing risks and practicing organizational error management. For all of these psychological safety is key! Without these behaviours, especially at the C levels, the success rate of strategic initiatives is not likely to change for the better. Psychological safety is therefore one of the most underestimated factors for strategy execution.

At &samhoud we solve strategic challenges though the behaviour of people. Would you like to know more about increasing psychological safety in your team or organisation?  Contact our experts: Leonie Arkesteijn (, Roosmaryn Spliet ( or Koen Husmann (