Forgetting mistakes and failures

In most organizations, mistakes and failure are viewed negatively and managers and employees alike are conditioned into believing that mistakes are a reflection of the incompetence of an individual. And hence to avoid mistakes, individuals tend to play it safe by opting to do things the ‘same old way’. There is no attempt at innovation, because every time you try something new, there is always the risk of failure. But, ironically risk avoidance carries the worst risk any organisation can take. It is the surest method of creating a ‘safe’ organisation where creativity is stifled and conformity becomes the norm. This mindset then permeates the organization and becomes part of its informal culture to its long term detriment. The organization then does not ‘grow and develop’.

Some key guidelines for managers when trying to establish a healthy risk-taking work environment are:

Accept Mistakes – Managers and subordinates must be taught that errors are part of the cost of development.

Tolerate failure – Many innovations and concepts are not successful initially. Persistence and the ability to deal with failure are therefore essential. As Akio Morita, the late Chairman of Sony says, “When customers see our products they only see success, they do not see the 99% of failures that made that product possible”.

Do not be conditioned by past failures – Past mistakes must be acknowledged and learned from. They must never be allowed to impede risk taking options in the future.

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Making mistakes

People make mistakes. We are allowed to make mistakes. But the actions we take while in a rage will haunt us forever. (Unknown)