We all make mistakes. But how do we keep from making the same mistakes over and over again?
The Spring 2005 issue of Strategy + Business has some great tips on how to correct a culture that breeds mistakes. They offer six "beliefs" that are typically embedded into the culture and management systems of some of today's best managed companies.
- Create a system to detect patterns of mistakes early and trust the data.
- Communicate and seek candid advice throughout the organization and from trusted outsiders.
- Don't underestimate the potential damage of mistakes.
- Consider the unthinkable.
- Protect the relationship with customers at all costs.
- Are not passive. (A bad situation will never go away on their own.)
I think any organization, church, school, etc... who is willing to take risks and be creative is undoubtedly going to make mistakes from time to time.
When a mistake is made (and from the standpoint of a leader) my main concerns are going to be:
- Are we taking responsibility for the mistake? (It drives me nuts when people or organizations can't admit their mistakes or try to blame everyone else or the circumstances around them. Perhaps a bigger question is, "Does your organization's culture make it easy for people to admit their mistakes?")
- How big was the mistake and who & how many people did it affect? (or in some cases, how much money did it affect?)
- Why was the mistake made (let's learn from it) and...
- What can we do to make sure we don't make the mistake again? (Let's not only recognize why the mistake was made, let's identify a system or new way of approaching the issue so that it doesn't happen again.)
What do you think? Would you add (or subtract) anything from my list?