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Proper Mistakes

September 26, 2012

“In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue” … and made a huge mistake. He went searching for India, but landed in the Caribbean (about half-the planet away). All the history books accredit him as being the person who discovered the Americas.

In 1928 Alexander Fleming accidently left a dish of bacteria uncovered for a few days and discovered that a unique strand of mold had developed and prevented bacterial growth. It was later isolated and refined into what we call Penicillin. He and his team were awarded a Nobel Prize in 1945 for the mistake.

In 1930, Ruth Wakefield set to bake a batch of cookies for guests at her Toll House travelers lodge. She had run out of cocoa powder and tried using a crumbled chocolate bar as a substitute. The small fragments of chocolate remained as chips – making a very delicious mistake.

Making mistakes is merely part of the growth process, and is essential for the viability of every business, as they provide us with necessary information about where and how to improve our processes.

Mistakes are vital to even the most regulated tasks, like flying an airliner full of passengers. We assume there is no room for mistakes and creativity; yet 90% of the flight time is spent off course where creative decisions, mistakes, and adjustments are constantly being made.

There are a couple of critical elements in building a business culture of making proper mistakes.
1) Acknowledge the mistake immediately. The faster you can make adjustments based on feedback from mistake; the less damage will occur and the faster processes can improve.
2) Separate the emotion from information. Our egos often get attached to ideas before the idea is even completed.

As we get more proficient at finding the solution to the small mistakes we make; the easier it is to realize their true benefit. After all, the role of an entrepreneur is to find information to help our businesses grow – or to make mistakes.

 

 

Copyright © David R Frick/SuccessVentures LLC 2012 All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent from the author.

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