Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Learning from Failure

Too often, people and organizations want to put significant distance between themselves and failure. That is almost always a mistake.

As this Business Week article notes, some companies want to devote more time to analyzing their failures so lessons can be drawn from the experience.

The practice of having "lessons learned" exercises is one that has been used in the military for years. Shortly after a patrol or project, the participants review what happened, what went wrong, and how matters could be improved in the future. This is not just done at the executive level. Every supervisor is responsible for that formalized reflection.

An underlying part of the process is to seek perfection without falling prey to a paralyzing perfectionism. In doing so, the organization lets leaders know there is an acceptable level of risk-taking and mistake-making. Learning is stressed and is never ceasing. No one has all the answers. And a greater emphasis is placed on improvement than on blame.

No comments: