As is often the case, a confluence of factors lead to a blog post, and this is no exception. Yesterday in Las Vegas as I facilitated a public session of our Leadership Training Camp (learn more and see future sites here), a group of 25 leaders and I talked about the connection between innovation and mistakes. One of my points in short: if we value innovation; we must expect mistakes, help people learn from them, and don’t let them hide them from the rest of the team.
At the break one of the participants from American Honda Motor Company suggested I watch a video on failure on their website. I watched it and loved it – this well-made video gives us great food for thought about failure. I highly recommend it.
At the time, I was thinking about failure and mistakes as synonyms. Then I found the quotation I sent to my Powerquotes subscribers this afternoon.
“Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” — Jim Rohn, speaker and author
I think Jim was right, and that leads me to think that failure and mistakes are not the same thing. Failure is, by Jim’s thinking, something that occurs over time. We all can think of mistakes we have made that we learned from, that become incredibly important in our growth and development, and in fact far from being failures, they contributed to our success.
I believe that people often label themselves as failures (if only subconsciously) when they make a mistake.
As human beings, this is not likely our best thought process. I suggest we remember the difference between mistakes and failure, and realize that when we focus on our mistakes as an opportunity to learn, we are much more likely to not experience failure over the longer term.
As you begin to master this skill, share with with those you lead. Help your team see the importance difference. Have them rad this post or your interpretation of it. Create a conversation about these two important concepts in your organization.
The upside of that work and your conversations will be more productive, happier, more successful people.