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Keeping Mistakes in Perspective


Are people allowed to make mistakes in your company?

In many companies there is a profound fear of failure, making a mistake is “the end of the world” and the start of the blame game.

“If you are not making mistakes then you are not doing anything” … John Wooden.

Failure and mistakes are the “lifeblood” of research, they are the path to discovery of answers to scientific problems.

In business we always need to be pushing to get better and we learn from our mistakes, it is human nature.

As children we learned not to touch the hot things … some of us had to learn the hard way, but those “mistakes” are how we learned.

If you want your culture to encourage growth and change (and which successful company doesn’t?) then you NEED your people pushing boundaries, which will inevitably lead to mistakes.

Companies with a culture of fear will blame people, will demonstrate their anger, maybe find a scapegoat, maybe even fire people … sure that will ensure no-one makes that mistake again.  Of course the reason they won’t make the mistake again is that they will stop pushing, or maybe even find a way to join a company willing to encourage innovation.

Companies that want to innovate will learn from mistakes, of course they will be disappointed BUT they will not play the blame game.  A failure or mistake is an opportunity for everyone to learn … and as long as you are doing that you will grow and get better.

AS long as mistakes and failures are not life threatening or catastrophic take them as learning experiences and get on with it!