Entrepreneurs thrive on mistakes – Why don’t you?
Mistakes. Yes they can be costly, but there is another threat looming over your head. Forceful attempts at avoiding them might hurt your business even more in the long run. Here is what I have observed in many instances: The vast majority of business leader-managers dread mistakes and many attempts are made at preventing or avoiding them. Much energy is spent in avoiding or suppressing them altogether. Depending on your organization this can lead to significant stress and impact morale negatively especially when annual performance assessments are given to employees and mistakes pop up as point of discussion typically resulting in a below par review.
In order to forego any more bad reviews the employee will then attempt to even make a simple mistake. Now employee will enter the stealth mode. Mistakes happen anyway and then end up getting swept under the rug or covered up in any other possible way. After a while the organization ends up in real trouble because just about any of such mishaps end up having their ill effect on the company anyway. Worse yet, distrust rears its ugly head any now time and cost really increase causing leader-managers springing into action with special work teams, initiatives or just hold stern pep talks about how bad it is to make mistakes. Sounds like a downward spiral, does it not?
Is it really one mistake that is the problem here? I would like to invite you, the leader-manager, to take a long hard look at your employee who just made a mistake. Look at the following two criteria and see if and how it applies to your situation. I maintain that these two are the only ones calling for disciplinary intervention.
- A mistake is a mistake, otherwise it would be intention. Intention would be expected to get addressed immediately by the leader-manager.
- A pattern of mistakes make in a similar or identical fashion will also require immediate attention of the leadership team.
Anything else you can handle as a simple mistake that the employee and the company can learn from. Almost every employee wants to do a good job and mistakes do happen. Why would you not want to find out how and where you can improve your organization? Owning and operating a business means having to adapt to changes in the business environment and having to innovate. With such steady changes come mishaps. Attempting to being able to avoid them is the equivalent of trying to look into a crystal ball that you are sitting in.
Very recently I read a new book written by friend Kevin Ready called “Startup: An Insider’s Guide to Launching and Running a Business” where he in various chapter addresses the mistakes that he had made and how he learned from them. You will not find a reference in his book either where recommends an avoidance or prevention strategy. It sounds ironic, but you are better off allowing some (hopefully non catastrophic) mistakes to happen.