Celebrating Mistakes-Part 2

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It’s easy to say we want to take risks, much harder to set the boundaries so that you demand diligence. Taking risks shouldn’t be on the level of buying lotto tickets or a roll of the dice. It’s got to be a shared risk, one that you may lead but everyone buys into, and everyone watches for places where you might be veering off the road to save you from a crash.

But not all mistakes are about risk taking. Most mistakes are just mistakes. Hitting “reply to all” instead of reply and saying something honest but unfiltered. Forgetting to sign a form. Leaving your ID at home when you go to the airport. Leaving a “stop” statement in code.

Not mistakes are the same scale. Some are small, some are embarrassing, some are career or business threatening. Are you ready to deal with them when someone on your team makes them? I’m sure that I still need some practice, it’s not easy.

Can you celebrate mistakes? I saw an article in Inc Magazine about employee rewards and one of the examples was a “mistake of the year” award with a cash prize. I bet on the day it happened it wasn’t easy to say “ok, stuff happens”, but imagine the impact when at the end of the year you can laugh about it, celebrate it. Yes, we want to cheer the wins, winning is fun. But no one wins all the time,so learning to laugh about the mistakes seems like a lot healthier culture to have.

One thought on “Celebrating Mistakes-Part 2

  1. Tough to determine how to handle mistakes. Ideally you want to allow some leeway if it
    a) doesn”t happen too often (or not the same mistake)
    b) there was an honest attempt to avoid the mistake
    c) the work was intended to help someone out.

    However it”s easy to want to punish people for making mistakes and scare them into avoiding them. In my mind, this leads to less creative work, less effort, and very conservative work.


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