Sharing mistakes is pivotal.

In 2013, as part of our Product Team and company-wide meetings, Block Imaging instituted a “fail tales” segment.

It’s simple.  Share a situation that’s taken place in the last couple weeks that we can learn from as a team.  Sometimes we’ll have to poke and prod for a story or two, and other times a half dozen will come in rapid succession.

A few examples from the morning meeting today:

“I went to a site visit and didn’t have a tape measure, the most important tool for the task at hand.”

“Two Mini C-Arm systems were swapped within our inventory identification system and it became clear they were headed for the wrong destination.  After rearranging the shipments, we found out they were indeed headed to the right location after all.  Since this occurred, we’ve created a new procedure to ensure this situation is eliminated.”

“During a project in January, a customer and I came to an agreement regarding the return of a shipping accessory.  Fast forward 9 months and the customer has no recollection of the conversation.  A continued reminder of how crucial it is to make sure to document in writing such agreements.”

“Our VOIP system was interrupted during our all team meeting.  Within the next 30 days, I intend to arrange a contingency plan so that our satellite offices can hear should the primary call be interrupted in the future.”

Every person and every company makes mistakes.  But the real question is whether there’s trust and confidence to share them.

Are mistakes allowed?

What will happen if I share?

Rest assured, it’s FAR easier and better for everyone when mistakes/problems/challenges rise to the surface naturally:

For the team member: there’s no need to hide or worry.  There’s also a natural propensity to learn from situations when you take time to consider and share what happened.

For the manager: the elimination of going on “mistake finding missions” is welcome news for most.

For the organization: everyone gets better and smarter, faster.

What’s one thing you did recently that you’d do differently in the future?

There’s great power in answering this question for yourself and to those around you.  Beyond a humbling exercise, it’s a great reminder that there are new and better ways hiding just around the corner.

When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad

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