What does "safe to try" actually mean?

Coming to a collective agreement isn’t as difficult as you think! All it takes is a shift in mindset, instead of focusing on getting it perfect, why not get it perfect enough to try?
Sarah Devereaux

If you’ve ever worked with another human being, you’ve probably had trouble making a collaborative decision. Adopting the practice of asking if something is “safe to try” can help. 

“Safe to try” is a powerful heuristic that can dramatically accelerate a team’s decision making. When determining if a decision is “safe to try” for you, it’s not about whether you’re desperately in love with every word on the page, or whether you’re willing to commit to the decision for life. 

It’s all about considering whether the decision is something you can live with for a period of time in order to learn something new. Generally, unless a decision is going to cause irreparable harm, it’s probably worth giving it a whirl.

Here are three principles to up your safe-to-try game: 

  • Everything is an experiment: When we write things down, it can feel like we’re committing for life. In reality, we just need to try something out for long enough to learn what worked and what didn’t. Murmur helps users adopt an experimental mindset for every decision, using expiration dates and regular feedback loops
  • Consent is not consensus: In a consent-based system, you’re not trying to please everyone. In Murmur, a decision moves forward if there are no objections and everyone consents to try it out. Oftentimes we object to something because we’re afraid of consequences that, in most cases, are unclear or don’t actually exist. Murmur uses an “objection test” to help users think about objections through a safe-to-try lens. 
  • Progress is always better than perfection: Trying to get things “right” is a common obsession in business, and it’s not serving us. The Murmur Method helps focus our attention on what really matters: gaining clarity (not certainty) through questions, improving the idea (not tearing it apart) through suggestions, and trying it out (not obsessing over getting it perfect) through consent.
Wanna just make a f#@%ing decision? Don’t make it a meeting. Make it in Murmur.
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