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Safety and Love - Secrets to Success

I was inspired by our university leadership and new team members at our New Faculty Orientation at WVU. These individuals are coming from some of the most prestigious institutions in the country and are choosing WVU.

The morning session was rich with information, connection and enthusiasm. Experienced faculty and leadership from each area of campus met with our new faculty to share their thoughts and experience.

However, it was during the lunch period from which some of the most memorable exchanges came. President Gordon Gee, Provost Joyce McConnell and I provided some comments.

Then came the Q&A session.

One of the questions, initially directed at Gordon was, “What is your secret to success?” His answer was that success embodies a strong sense of purpose, connection to people and a joy for your community and organization.

I interjected that I thought his secret to success is that he deeply believes in his mission (almost spiritually), and he loves purely.

I previously blogged that Google found its best teams functioned well because of a different level of psychological safety for team members. This is interesting, because of the human impact of safety.

Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist, created a hierarchy of psychological needs of humans. On the base, it is physiological (heart beating, breathing, etc.)

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs [Wikipedia] 

The next level is safety (psychological and physical), followed by love.

Perhaps it is the culture of safety and love that separates high performing people and organizations from others.

Interestingly, a new faculty member approached Gordon with a clear emotional connection and said that this is the first institution she has seen where senior leadership talk openly about safety and love.

It is curious that we rediscover what we have known since childhood –all the important issues that underpin success are very human.