MISTAKE: A moment of great learning, discovery, or insight; often described as powerful, emotional, and/or life changing. Synonyms: error, mishap, failure.
We celebrate our educational achievements with all the pomp and circumstance of graduation. From university down to pre-school, educational programs seem more significant when they come along with some form or certificate of completion. Yet we tend to sweep mistakes and failures under the rug in an attempt to ignore they even happened.
Why? By doing so, we are discarding some of the most valuable information available!
ALL moments of great learning should be celebrated, regardless of the source. Learning is about internalizing experiences. It is powerful that we can read a book, listen to a lecture, or watch a video to learn from someone else’s experiences. They take the time to make the necessary connections and boil it down into simple ideas that are easily shared. While there are many benefits to learning this way (not everyone needs first-hand knowledge of gasoline’s combustibility); it is not always the best way.
We can learn the principles of sales, leadership, drawing, love, and more from books. But the real value comes from the daily application and refinement that comes from making mistakes.
When we experiment, theorize, and try things ourselves; we get a lot more raw data to process into worthwhile information. Working through the experience gives us unspeakable insights that lead to the phenomenon of improvement through the ‘learning curve’. Through our internal processing; we also get to compare and connect learnings from other life experiences – giving us a multiplied effect of learning.
We can facilitate learning from mistakes in a business settings by devise systems to lower the negative emotional association. Think of it as a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card where team members can easily admit error with absolutely zero penalties.
Have them share what they learned from the experience so that others can understand and grow from it, rather than following a new policy that merely minimizes the risk of it from happening again. The experience and learning should be shared informally among the team as well as in some form of writing (as in data capture, not reporting in personnel file). It helps to celebrate these learning experiences so that it lowers fears, and increases trust, confidence, and collaboration.
Join me in celebrating some of the most powerful methods of learning.
After thousands of experiments; one of the many things I have learned as an entrepreneur and sales professional is to build genuine value into all that you do. If you find this valuable; please like, comment, follow, or share this with others so that my experience might help them draw stronge connections in their own careers.
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david r frick is a business artist and founder of SuccessVentures – a consulting firm focused on helping owners and entrepreneurs through a holistic approach to growing companies that meet the needs of contemporary business environments.