Expect Mistakes


A while back, I had an employee make a mistake that cost the organization a large amount of money. When it was brought to my attention, I tried looking at different scenarios of what could have happened. As I did my research, I soon realized there were no “if, ands, or buts” about it. It was a mistake. It was a big one. And it was going to hurt.

When your people make a mistake, there are two things you can do. You can fire them or you can make it a learning experience. Ideally you want to make it a learning experience, because you have already made a tremendous investment in them through time, money, and training. So before you can determine which one to implement, there are some questions you must ask yourself.

Can this be learned from?

Will this person learn?

Was it an honest mistake and not done for selfish motives?

If you answer yes to all these questions you should choose to make this part of the training process. Don’t just write off the mistake and tell them “it was notated of and not to do it again.” They won’t learn anything that way and the mistake is likely to reoccur. For them to really learn, unfortunately it needs to hurt a little. They need to be the one who has to fix the mistake. If they have to meet with a customer and reveal the error or set up a work schedule to make up for the error; either way, the employee has to handle this. Not only will the employee learn something that is beneficial, they will add to their character and leadership ability. The thing to know and keep in mind is ……………………. if your people aren’t making mistakes they aren’t doing anything!

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