Owning Up to Mistakes: Reflections on Today’s Lean Podcast Episodes (Yes, Plural)


We all make mistakes. I feel like I've made more mistakes than usual this week — including a series of mistakes related to my Lean podcast that I released this morning.

1) I think I had the release date jotted down wrong for the new book by Matthew May & 🦄Pablo Dominguez, so I was planning on releasing their podcast episode next week. I got an alert from Amazon about the book being out yesterday. I could adjust and get the episode ready to coincide with the book release.

2) But, in my scramble to release it this morning, I referred to Matt May as “Matt Matt” in the episode title, the YouTube title, and the blog post title. Thanks to Chris Burnham for pointing out my error – that was easily fixed. Minor mistake, it happens.

3) I then realized I had published Matt and Pablo's episode with the wrong episode number (470 instead of 469). Another minor problem, easily fixed.

4) But then, in the course of changing the podcast episode number for what was now going to be the NEXT episode (with Gary Michel), from the original 469 to 470, I apparently managed to mistakenly click “Publish” instead of “Save Draft.”


My audio mea culpa:

This fourth mistake was worse because now the episode was out there, and some people had downloaded it… but the show notes page wasn't published yet. That page was ready to go for next week. So I went ahead and published the episode fully.

I had to “solve” the problem by either pulling back Episode 470 (which would cause some problems and confusion) or going ahead and fully releasing it (which causes other issues).

Again, I realize that solving one problem here ended up creating another. I shouldn't have two episodes out on the same day. I'm sorry to my listeners for not level loading the listening. I apologize to Matt and Pablo, and to Gary, for not letting them have the full spotlight for the week, as they all deserve.

For this post, I'm recycling an old “facepalm” photo that I took a decade ago for a blog post. My hair is much darker there.

Mark Graban Facepalm

The urge to re-use that picture reminds me that I'm being too hard on myself.

Thinking through the themes of my upcoming book, The Mistakes That Make Us (about creating a culture of learning from mistakes), I try to “practice what I preach” — doing well in some regards. And I still struggle in other areas. Let's do a “plus/delta” using some of my chapter titles from the book that give advice to readers:

Admit Mistakes & Cherish Them (We All Make Them)

Plus: I don't feel much shame in admitting mistakes. I'm willing to admit them and I don't think that's risky. The mistakes I make aren't a matter of life-and-death, unlike some healthcare mistakes. I know I'm not perfect (and I don't think anyone else suspects I'm perfect!).

Be Kind to Yourself

Delta: I do struggle with being kind to myself. I'm generally harder on myself than I am on others when they make mistakes. So I have room for growth there.

Be Kind to Others — Focus on Learning, Not Punishment

Plus: I think I do a good job of being kind to others, which makes it psychologically safer for them to admit mistakes in the future.

I should focus on learning from my mistakes instead of punishing myself.

Proactively Prevent Mistakes, But Learn From Those That Happen

Delta: I can do a better job of preventing mistakes. I realize that being in a rush leads to making more mistakes. The rush to publish the episode on time (when being a few hours late would have been fine) led to errors.

My rush to fix one mistake created another error. I noticed the “wrong number” mistakes when I was out for a walk (listening to the Culture by Design podcast).

I could have waited until I was back to my computer to try fixing the episode numbers instead of stopping to try to do it using my phone.

I struggle with resisting the impulse to “fix it right now.” That's a contributing factor, not an excuse.

Again, Be Kind to Yourself

As I often do, I hear the kind coaching voice of Karyn Ross, who lives rent-free in my head (in a good way). I will have a sip of tea and read the mantras / reminders on my #MyFavoriteMistake mug, as shown in the second photo with the post.

Mark graban my favorite mistake coffee mug

Be kind to yourself.

Nobody is perfect.

We all make mistakes.

What's important is learning from our mistakes.

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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Thank you so much for the kind shout out Mark! All days have mistakes! Some more than others! And that is why we have so many opportunities to practice kindness to others and to ourselves!


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