Frequently Highlighted Passages in “The Mistakes That Make Us”


One exciting feature of the Amazon Kindle format is the ability for readers to see what other readers have frequently highlighted. It's also fascinating, as the author, to see this. It's a form of feedback about what seems to resonate with readers.

I'll share some of the “early returns” from the first few weeks, realizing that I only have a limited number of data points so far.

I'll share the highlighted section and some adjacent text for context. The images also have alt text associated with them.


To preface this, I'm not talking about being an introvert vs. an extrovert. It's about situations where it might be (or is) dangerous for people to speak with candor.

Guests on My Favorite Mistake admit and own their mistakes instead of blaming others for any misfortune. And they felt safe enough to do so. Sadly, many people feel pressured to protect themselves by keeping quiet about mistakes. Speaking up isn't a matter of character or courage--it's driven by culture. People feel safe to share when their leaders and colleagues treat them with respect. Instead of asking people to be brave, leaders must create conditions where people can feel safe.

Graban, Mark. The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation (pp. 12-13). Constancy, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I shared this idea on LinkedIn the other day, and it prompted much discussion. Feel free to join in here:

My book focuses on learning and improving. When an organization is fixated on punishment, we won't be able to learn and improve.

can ask after a mistake is,

Mistakes can be turned into something positive–if we react to them the right way (being kind) and make the right adjustments (being constructive).

Graban, Mark. The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation (p. 13). Constancy, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Chapter 1: Think Positively

In the section about “What are Mistakes?” (as I blogged about also):

Mistakes arise from decisions and actions that produce outcomes that don't match our intended results. Or we decided to maintain the status quo when we should have made a change–perhaps any change. We call this an “inaction mistake.”

Graban, Mark. The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation (p. 24). Constancy, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Making my point about reducing fear instead of lecturing people about being brave:

A culture of fear and punishment drives mistakes underground. An organization with a culture of fear cannot learn from mistakes, because people don't feel safe admitting them. People who do admit mistakes to their manager aren't more virtuous or courageous; they likely are in circumstances where they are able to feel safe doing so. Instead of telling people to be brave, leaders must help people feel safer.

Graban, Mark. The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation (p. 25). Constancy, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Quoting my guest Kevin Goldsmith on the “My Favorite Mistake” podcast:

Companies in a wide range of industries choose to think positively about mistakes. It might seem easier when the consequences aren't a matter of life or death. For example, Kevin Goldsmith, chief technology officer at DistroKid, the world's largest digital-music distributor, says:

Innovators love phrases like

Chapter 3: Be Kind

Check out the episode with Donnis and Dan.

Many of my podcast guests referred to their mistakes as

Chapter 4: Prevent Mistakes

Quoting Darril Wilburn:

Starting with mindset, as former Toyota leader Darril Wilburn says,

I'm hoping readers will keep reading… and will keep highlighting!

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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.


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