HR Freak, Leadership & Management

How to Celebrate Mistakes: A Practical Guide

Exploring unconventional leadership dimensions is my passion and forte
I have already presented my concept of “Celebrating Mistakes” in my article “Celebrate Mistakes: Give Your Leadership Skills a New Dimension”. In that article I built a framework of accepting mistakes as natural, as important and as good as achievement and success.
After my article went live, I got a lot of emails from people particularly of business industry arguing that the concept looks very fancy but it in reality it is very difficult to implement.
I object, your honor…..
Well, I love criticism and objections, it paves a way for more research, study and discussions which are all healthy and fundamental for human progress.
Just take a moment off and try to remember “when your mistake was celebrated?” by you or others??
( I already have explained my concept of celebrating mistakes in previous article….PLEASE don’t confuse it with acceptance)
I am sure 99% of the readers wouldn’t have one single memory of such an extraordinary experience.
That’s the problem with all of us, we have got so used to of living in a way we live that we afraid to change the way we think or live.
This article is meant to present a practical, do-able guide to celebrating mistakes particularly in your office space but yes you can also implement in other areas like in class room with students or even at home with your children.

1. Prepare the mindset of your team of mistake celebration

Before practically implementing the system, first the idea needs to be communicated. A well executed plan can be turned into a fiasco if the people involved in the execution of the plan are not mentally prepared.
The first step that you need to take is to prepare the mind set of your team members about this concept.

How to prepre the mindset of your team

You need to tell them the answers of three basic questions:

  1. What do you mean by celebrating mistakes? (Find the answer in my previous article
    2. How can you celebrate mistakes? (You will have your answer in this article)
    3. Why is it important to celebrate mistakes? (Read till end)

Once your know the answers of these questions, share them with your team members through:

  • Arrange an informal meeting. Inculcate excitement in them by starting with:
    “I have heard about this new amazing concept of mistake celebration. lets Experiment it within our team…….”
    May be you have to face mix reaction. Some will say that this is crap, some may get excited or some may even make fun of you.
    Don’t worry the next step will be your saviour.
    Leaders lead by examples, the USP of a great leader is hidden in the phrase
    “Preach what you practice”
    Being a leader, you can not expect your team members to believe or do what you, being their leader, can’t do your self.
  • Present yourself as a “MISTAKER”. Share your life experiences when you commit mistakes while achieving your goal but you had to leave that ambition because no one was there to appreciate your mistakes; not even you.

Result? It would help the members to relate with you and your ideas. Because all of us must have been through times where failures became the biggest stumbling blocks in our way of success.
Give a week or two to let people discuss it until the concept remain no more alien to them and they of it like any other official project or daily tasks. Let them connect with idea.

2. Prepare a Pilot Project

The second thing you need to do is to prepare and implement a pilot project to be on safe side. It will reduce the risk associated with the complete implementation and you will get to know how and where you can implement this concept.
Identify the areas in which this concept can be implemented.
Barring my belief according to which this concept can be implemented everywhere I will recommend you to shortlist the areas where you can tolerate the mistakes and their repercussions will not be much detrimental to company’s progress.

  1.  These areas can be found in daily mundane tasks which, in most of the cases, are not associated with profit and loss.
    2. You can also assign this task to your team members to select the areas where mistakes can be tolerated.
    Implement the concept in these areas for 1 or 2 months and see the results.
    3. Celebrate Mistakes
    You can celebrate mistakes in various means:
    • Having drinks to celebrate (of course after office hours)
    • Hold weekly sessions to discuss mistakes done by every team member and discuss how these mistakes reveal new insights towards doing work more efficiently and effectively. (Mark my words for this)
    • Send hand written “Motivational Cards” to the “Mistakers”. It can also be a note.
    “Hey, welcome to the Mistakers’ Club. Congrats! you committed an unintentional mistake while trying something good. Go ahead! Learn from it. Tell us what you learned from it and how it improved your working. Because we love making mistakes….”
    • Celebrate mistakes in a similar way successes are celebrated in your office.
    • Share with other mates in the office through emails. This is how you will acknowledge mistake of your team mate. Its just like sharing a milestone.
    There are numerous ways through which you can celebrate mistakes….just take them as natural and as special as you take success.

3. Watch for the Spoilers

One biggest hurdle in your program is the attitude of spoilers. There always are spoilers in every office. They may take this as an opportunity to waste time and may commit mistakes intentionally.
This exactly is the reason why I have used words “unintentional” and “while trying something good” to make people understand that there is no place for intentional mistakes. Moreover, when you will discuss the mistakes in weekly meetings and how did they impact the mistaker you will be able to locate the spoilers.

4. Measure the success of “Mistakes”

After implement the pilot project for 1 month, you will see that:

  •  There is more communication between you an your team.
    • Some creative ideas must have been implemented by now.
    • People must not be wasting their time in covering up their mistakes which is being utilized productive areas.
    • More learning and understanding.
    • Fewer mistakes are being made.
    • There would be less office politics and backbiting.

You don’t have to agree with me.
Just implement it for 1 month and see“how mistakes bring success.”
Kudos to Mistakes…..
Its not mistakes which block our way of success, its the way we think of them.

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