Don’t be Afraid to make Mistakes!

As an entrepreneur making mistakes and not being afraid of failure should be second nature to you. If you are not making mistakes, then you have to wonder whether or not you are really trying hard enough to succeed.

Management consultant and author, Peter Drucker once commented that businesses should find all the employees who never make mistakes and fire them because employees who never make mistakes never do anything interesting!

We certainly learn from our mistakes and this learning process can lead to great innovation and change. So rather than focus on the negative consequences of errors let’s look at some of the positives.

Learning. When a mistake is made it presents an opportunity to find any weaknesses in your systems and resolve them. Let the creativity and innovation flow and reap the benefits.

Fewer mistakes. If you have a culture where team members are afraid to make mistakes the pressure this creates often increases the likelihood of mistakes occurring. By encouraging your team to report issues and look out for potential problems they are far more likely to report them.

Opportunities. By encouraging people to openly admit their mistakes it develops the opportunity to fix problems you may not have previously been aware of. Mistakes are a part of life and the quicker we make them the quicker we can move on to the next phase.

Avoid the cover up. How often is the cover up worse than the mistake? Team members that are afraid to fail will often look to hide the truth. This can lead to downtime, dishonesty and mistrust. Avoid the blame game and get on with pro-active solutions.

Clearly getting the balance right is essential. One of the key concepts to come out of Seth Godin’s book Linchpin (about invaluable people) is ‘shipping’. Shipping is getting your concept to market. He argues many businesses and people are too concerned about having the ‘perfect’ product/service or systems.

Did Apple worry about resolving all bugs in the iphone before release? Or ensuring all features possible were included in the first model? No, Apple saw this as an opportunity to create more hype about features in the next model and sell more phones.

Next time a mistake is made in the workplace take a moment to consider if the person should be reprimanded or congratulated!

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, and that means you’re not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more chances to learn and win.
— John W. Holt, Jr.

Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants
E: richardk@wattsprice.com.au

The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.