Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Mistakes - Good or bad?

Have you ever worked in an environment where mistakes weren't tolerated? Despite Einstein's quote: "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new" there are still places where mistakes are not welcome. This story from a web site I find patchy, but interesting enough to persevere with:
A sign in a high-pressure sales office brings a smile: 'Do you like to travel? Do you want to meet new friends? Do you want to free up your future? All this can be yours if you make one more mistake.'
If you click through to the full story it also talks about how mistakes can happen because people will not challenge their "betters" for any number of different reasons. In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers he tells of how Korean Airlines had more than their fair share of accidents because the culture was not to challenge a superior.

For years I used to think that I had bought into the Einstein quote - and yet I discovered that I had this great desire to be right all the time. In my case I think it was tied to a desire to be liked - if I get things wrong "they" - whoever "they" may be - won't like me. Consequently I became very cautious. Luckily (not sure if that is the right word!) I worked in an organisation that shared my beliefs. Change came slowly but surely, and we can't have done that badly as we were the most profitable in our market place. However, I found it much harder when I moved into a much more fast moving organisation where quick decisions were made and the good ones were expected to outweigh the bad ones financially.

As I have started to come to terms with this, and accept that I will make mistakes, it has been a great release.

I'm right aren't I :)

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