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Posted 2nd May 2024

“The Psychological Safety Architects: Aristotle Performance’s Path to Industry Leadership”

Aristotle Performance was founded on the belief that enhancing an organization's psychological safety is crucial for achieving its objectives while fostering a more human experience of the workplace. It draws inspiration from the famous Aristotle quote, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This principle guides the firm as it partners with business leaders to help navigate their challenges with the experience and expertise to be trusted advisors with the courageous innovation of the millennial generation. On the back of this, we are proud to name Aristotle Performance as the Best Psychological Safety Development Company 2024 - North America, and we catch up with Co-Founder and CEO Neil Pretty to find out more.

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“The Psychological Safety Architects: Aristotle Performance’s Path to Industry Leadership”
Aristotle Performance

Aristotle Performance was founded on the belief that enhancing an organization’s psychological safety is crucial for achieving its objectives while fostering a more human experience of the workplace. It draws inspiration from the famous Aristotle quote, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This principle guides the firm as it partners with business leaders to help navigate their challenges with the experience and expertise to be trusted advisors with the courageous innovation of the millennial generation. On the back of this, we are proud to name Aristotle Performance as the Best Psychological Safety Development Company 2024 – North America, and we catch up with Co-Founder and CEO Neil Pretty to find out more. 

It is the overarching mission of North American based Aristotle Performance is to create exponential impact. Becoming globally recognized experts in psychological safety became the focus due to the positive impact on business and the lives of leaders and teams. Clarity is key to achieving this, as too is making sure that people are at the very heart of the operation. Their success has been built on a foundation of core values that are embodied at all times, for example, “everybody wins” and “it’s not about who’s right, it’s about what’s right.” These represent an approach to psychological safety that is holistic and robust. It also leads to working with a wide variety of industries, organizations and often working with organizations that are in some of the most challenging regions in the world.

By ensuring that our clients feel heard and supported, we can take a step back and look at problems with a fresh perspective, driving change for the better. Speaking on such sustained success, “we are trusted advisors to executive leaders and experts in psychological safety as well as a successful consulting and training firm because that’s not where we started. We started as entrepreneurs who saw first-hand the benefits of psychological safety. Helping leaders, teams, and organizations achieve greater results by improving the collaborative environment and helping people deal with change was a challenge we wanted to solve.

Aristotle Performance has carved out its place as thought leaders spot through two main avenues: scalable, evidence-based strategies that show aclear, and measurable

impact on top-line business outcomes, and the consistent feedback from clients about the positive transformation of their internal cultures. These are fundamental elements for success but the differentiation goes deeper. Psychological safety is not seen as an endpoint but as a gateway. It opens the door to elevated performance levels, laying the groundwork for achieving our ultimate goal: to not only safeguard well-being but to catalyze peak performance across organizations.

Another distinguishing factor has been the opportunity to collaborate with the esteemed Dr. Amy C. Edmondson of Harvard University, author of the acclaimed psychological safety book The Fearless Organization, which was written based on approximately three decades of research advocating the need for psychological safety. This has provided the team with the unique opportunity to apply first-hand research insight in order to deliver top tier solutions while offering in return insights from practical application

Furthermore, Neil proudly states, “we are also the only organization in North America that has certified internal practitioners to use The Fearless Organization’s Scan to measure, track, and improve psychological safety. We provide training, but it is the internal communities of practice that become a resource for ongoing growth and development that are the gift that keeps on giving.” Neil beams as he tells us that the company has produced more than 200 practitioners in the past few years, with more set to follow.  

Yet, what truly sets Aristotle Performance apart, even more than their work with clients and collaborators, is simply its people and the qualities that they embody. It’s their integrity, authenticity, diligence, dedication, and sense of humor that truly differentiate us. Neil puts it succinctly: “Our team thrives on psychological safety and a culture of continuous learning, which fuels our desire to innovate.” He continues “This translates into a solution-oriented approach, the courage to question the status quo, and swift, creative problem-solving. In short – we have an awesome team, and our clients feel that when they work with us.” This synergy cultivates a collaborative environment with clients that is productive and innovative, while remaining low stress.

While they are an awesome team with the skill to both identify and implement impactful solutions, one program shines particularly brightly with their flagship program, the Courageous Leader Program. This program is not just another leadership development course; it’s in a league of its own, setting the benchmark for the industry. Through Courageous Leader, we’ve meticulously designed a culture that elevates learning, innovation, and accountability—all firmly rooted in psychological safety. This program stands out as a pinnacle of leadership training, unparalleled in its depth and effectiveness.

Neil comments, “it’s designed as an off-the-shelf solution, but if the need or desire comes up we can completely customize the journey in real time while maintaining a consistent learning experience – we are the only company that can do that.” The results of the Courageous Leader programme speak for themselves, with a 7% increase in productivity seen across 850 total team members after 121 leaders were trained. The best thing? The average time commitment per month was just two hours, a fraction of one’s working schedule and a break that even the most time-pressed leader could squeeze in. 

Having worked on almost every continent across the globe, Aristotle Performance has a track record of worldwide success and a diverse client portfolio supporting aid workers in the Middle East, European based pharmaceutical companies, advising Peruvian food producers, Brazilian banks, and developing at-scale solutions for global insurance brokers based in Hong Kong and Singapore, and global firms like Pepsi and Logitech based in North America. While most of their clients tend to be in the finance, pharma or tech sectors regardless of the location or the client, for Neil, “what makes our work a success is a focus on building relationships. We have a clear process and are willing to adapt – but it’s the relationships that inform the process and give us the opportunity to implement higher quality solutions.”

From our early days as pioneers in addressing psychological safety on a global scale to navigating the current landscape filled with misconceptions and challenges in this evolving field, our steadfast commitment to an evidence-based approach has allowed us to deepen our expertise and share this valuable knowledge with our clients. Neil elaborates on this journey, “it is a call to action that we have enjoyed facing and it continues to set us apart. We don’t fall prey to the next big idea – we are consistently establishing and providing best practice to clients and the community.” 

As alluded to above, today’s industry is riddled with misconceptions about psychological safety, often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. This perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Psychological safety isn’t just an add-on; it’s at the heart of how a business operates and strategy is executed, serving as a cornerstone for ongoing growth and success. Simply put, organizations that prioritize developing their leaders in this area equip themselves with a critical advantage. This foundational element of psychological safety enables them to consistently outshine their competitors. The concept is as clear-cut as it gets.

Asked about the business’ plans for the coming years, Neil shares his perspective that while innovation tends to follow its own timeline, the company’s commitment to enhancing its offerings remains unshakable, leading to consistent, measurable improvements time and again. These incremental advancements add up over time, and by embracing emerging technologies such as AI and continuing to press the boundaries of blended learning, the business can nurture sustainable growth and elevate the human experience, in equal measure. Signing off, Neil states, “we already meet the demands of complex matrix organizations at a global scale, and the needs of cultural diversity this brings. The innovation will continue as the challenges we help clients face become more complex.”

Aristotle Performance’s ongoing successes are a testament to this fact. Whether it’s the recent influx of pharmaceutical companies that the team have been working with, or those operating within the insurance, IT, MedTech, and other industries, the exciting and progressive nature of the work ahead is fostering a continuous impact for clients. By harnessing research, innovation and their continued investment in global collaboration the Aristotle team ensures that each initiative delivers on its promise that everybody wins.

Categories: Leadership, News


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