Here's a short video that I made that talks through the chapters and main points of my new book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation.
Mark Graban: We all make mistakes. What matters is learning from them as individuals, teams, and organizations. A culture of learning from mistakes spurs improvement, innovation, and better business results, and it's also just a better place for us all to work.
Hi, I'm Mark Graban, author of the new book titled, “The Mistakes That Make Us — Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation.” It's available now in print formats, paperback and hardcover, as a Kindle ebook, and as an audiobook. You can learn more about all of these formats and how to buy them at mistakesbook.com.
I'd like to give a quick overview of the structure of the chapters within the book. Each chapter is titled. It tries to give a little bit of advice to us as individuals, leaders, and organizations.
Chapter One, “Think Positively.” Thinking positively about mistakes allows us to think about improvement. How do we learn from our mistakes? How do we seize that opportunity to build upon a mistake and turn it from something bad into something good?
Chapter Two, “Admit Mistakes.” This isn't an admonition for everybody to just go and admit mistakes regardless of what workplace you're in.
It's a call to action for leaders, founders of organizations, those who are in positions of leadership or authority. When they lead the way by admitting mistakes to their employees and to their team, that's a powerful example. It reminds us again, we all make mistakes and what matters is being able to react constructively to those. It starts with leaders.
Chapter Three is a reminder to be kind. To be kind to ourselves, to be kind to others when mistakes are made. That means being constructive. It means shifting from being punitive. Moving away from that, but not just being nice, where being nice, we might say things like, “Well, it's OK. I know you didn't mean to do it.”
That might not be constructive and helpful if that's the end of the conversation, that reassurance. Being kind means we're more action-oriented, which drives us toward trying to learn from the mistake and to prevent a repeat of it.
Chapter Four is about preventing mistakes. Practical methods we can use, including checklists and mistake proofing to do our best to prevent mistakes, especially those that would be really harmful to employees, customers, patients in a healthcare setting or our organization.
Chapter Five is again a call to leaders to help everyone to speak up. This means establishing the conditions in which people can feel psychologically safe to speak up. This doesn't mean we should lecture people and talk about how they should speak up, how they should be brave, how they should be courageous, or that people of good character speak up.
Instead of asking people to be brave or judging them when they don't speak up, it's really important that leaders cultivate the conditions of psychological safety where each person decides it's not as risky or dangerous to speak up as it would be otherwise.
Chapter Six reinforces the idea of “Choose Improvement, Not Punishment.”
Chapter Seven is titled “Iterate Your Way To Success.” This is about situations where we might be working to improve or innovate and we almost need to expect mistakes, to almost invite them, and to seize upon those as learning opportunities using, for example, small tests of change, small mistakes to prevent large mistakes.
Chapter Eight, “Cultivate Forever,” is a reminder that culture change is a never-ending journey. We don't implement a culture. We don't buy a culture. It takes time. It takes leadership and sustained efforts, and Chapter Eight includes some stories about organizations that have both initiated and built and nurtured, and sustained a culture of learning from mistakes.
Again, I hope you'll check out the book. You can learn more at mistakesbook.com. I invite you to check out the podcast that kind of inspired that…Not just kind of. That's my mistake. The podcast did inspired the book. The podcast is called “My Favorite Mistake,” and it includes many stories that are in the book. I hope you'll check them both out, mistakesbook.com, mistakespodcast.com.
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