Grow from your mistakes

N°151b – Synopsis (8p.) – Learning
Grow from your mistakes
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Companies inevitably make mistakes. By identifying and analyzing their mistakes, companies can turn them into learning opportunities and thus avoid repeating them.

The value of mistakes is well known – Don’t people learn best from their errors? In principle, everyone agrees on this. Mistakes are unavoidable. Not only because to err is human, but also because some degree of risk is necessary to make progress.

Yet, few companies are organized to capitalize fully on the lessons learned from their mistakes. Too often, they prefer to sweep errors under the rug, because they feel that it is best “to get on with it” or that their impact is inconsequential. In closing their eyes, such companies are likely to repeat their mistakes, and may even allow things to deteriorate to the point of triggering a crisis. Even when a problem is not particularly serious, they lose an opportunity to improve their operating practices.

The publications that we have selected on this topic encourage managers to be more proactive in drawing conclusions from the errors inevitably com-mitted in their organization. They recommend taking two types of action:

– Create a culture that encourages people to recognize the value of mistakes and analyze them.

– Apply great discipline in analyzing mistakes, as this will minimize the all-too-frequent risk of drawing erroneous conclusions.

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