When I reflect on starting my working career, there was an expectation or unwritten understanding that mistakes were a bad thing. “Don’t make a mistake as it will require more work down the track. Jack our boss does not like mistakes so let’s try to get it perfect from the start”. “Don’t try something new with the report or the process as it may not be something the boss wants”.
This mindset was alive and well in most organisations I was a part of. It was the way things were done around the organisation and to a large part accepted as something we don’t challenge. I never quite understood what the value of mistakes, challenging and improving things was as well as what innovations and value mistakes through pushing hard and challenging drives in your business practices.
It was only when I started my own consulting business did I realise that obedient children is not what I wanted from employees. At the same time, I did not want to drive behaviour that rewarded individuals over the team and where people did not follow processes that made good business sense. There had to be another way to drive improvement that embraced making mistakes in the right manner that also drove exceptional value being added to our business and our employees.
What I found is that it is actually the opposite that you should be seeking. Embrace mistakes, challenge the processes and systems to get better and ensure continual improvement. This requires consulting business owners to not criticise employees that do make mistakes as this is part of the journey. Doing this will stifle people from coming forward with good ideas or left field ideas that may lead to mistakes but innovation along the way.
A mistake riddled consulting organisation founded on the right principles will lead to significant benefits not only for your organisation but through this process, there lies wonderful opportunities to innovate. Empower the team to do this and watch the ideas flow!