Employee Mistakes Improve Productivity

17 June 2014
Comments: 1
Category: Develop, Lead
17 June 2014, Comments: 1

Imagine this: an organization where employees make mistakes and instead of being punished, they are rewarded!

I heard a story about a senior executive at Coke who made a decision that cost the company $2 million. He wrote his resignation letter and handed it to his boss. Instead of accepting the resignation the boss said, “I just spent two million dollars on your development – go back to work!”

Now whether this story is true or not. A place where mistakes are tolerated, instead of punished, is a place where employees are more likely to:

– Discover creative solutions: push the boundaries of “acceptable” answers to where competitors do not dare to go
– Disagree with leadership: improve solutions by discussing other options
– Learn from mistakes: hold debriefs of what was right and wrong instead of hiding mistakes

For organizations this means increased profits. And isn’t that what we all want?

Review your practices – what do you do when someone makes a mistake? How can you make it a safe place to learn from mistakes?

You also may want to read: How to Treat Employees so They Don’t Want to Leave

One response on “Employee Mistakes Improve Productivity

  1. James says:

    As a very dedicated and loyal worker, in a sales field where I am allowed to actually make mistakes I totally agree! I try a lot harder when I know that if I stuff up, I will just get told how to handle a situation better the next time, everything from ordering and procuring new stock without prior authority or offering deals/discounts without supervisor authorization. Obviously I don’t do stupid things on purpose and I apply common sense but I feel I am developing a lot faster being allowed to take initiative without fear of reprimand. I wish more employers knew this. I know many stores near where I work failing because their staff are so restricted they are simply retail assistant robots. My role could easily be that, but instead I work on selling, up-selling, cross selling and increasing productivity because I know if I stuff up going off the set protocols it wont be my ass on the line.

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