Reading a Communications Bulletin for Managers and Supervisors, an idea jumped out at me: celebrate mistakes. By encouraging employees to share their errors with the team, everyone would learn from the mistake, and disciplining would be unnecessary. At the same time as I was mulling the merits of this, I was listening to a book on CD: How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer, and found it sychronistic that it contained these similar messages:
- Self criticism is the secret to self-improvement; negative feedback is the best kind (Bill Robertie, backgammon master)
- An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in his field (Niels Bohr)
- Mistakes should be cultivated and carefully investigated
- Mistakes are the building blocks of knowledge
- Unless you experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong, your brain will never revise its models.
So, I think Celebrating Mistakes may take the place of the Kudos lists I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to encourage with staff. Now I just have to think of a mistake of my own I can publish to get the ball rolling…