From Slip-Up to Shared Learning

“I’m never wrong. I thought I was once, but I was mistaken.”  – Lucy Van Pelt 

We all make mistakes and, hopefully, we all learn from them. Here are some non-threatening and productive ways to institutionalize learning from our mistakes in the workplace.

  • Mistake of the Month – At staff meetings, have employees share stories of their mistakes and resulting “lessons learned.”  Vote on which story had the most impact in a meaningful way, such as how the situation was handled or what provided the greatest learning. Present the winner with a creative token award (bathtub grippers to avoid future slip-ups, anyone?) or humorous certificate to be decided upon by the group.
  • Favorite Lessons Learned – A variation of the above, allow time for employees to share one or both of the following:
    • “Favorite Mistake Not to be Repeated”
    • “Favorite Catch of Stuff Done Right that We Hope to Do Again”
  • No More Stupid – A CEO uses this meeting opener to engage employees in discussion: “What are we doing that is stupid, unnecessary or doesn’t make sense?”  It’s a great way to break the ice on an uncomfortable topic.

What does your organization do to turn its mistakes into learning opportunities?



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