Learning from Mistakes
Not only in the production process or during in-company communication, human error can happen everywhere. Children learn by repeating a sequence of actions until it becomes mistake-free. As adults we cannot continue this method in quite the same way, but we are better capable of analysing our mistakes. Before we set out for a replay, we have the chance to review and can systematically practice error avoidance. An organisation reaches its fullest potential where it permits a mistake to be made once and fully exploits the inherent learning potential. Not the error is bad only where it is denied or overlooked - in which case the danger mounts that it will be repeated and catastrophe looms up. The really important question is not: “Who was it?” but rather ”How did we get to this point, what has favoured such a development, and what benefit was in the action chosen which was later or generally determined to be erroneous?” The entire creative potential of ”mistakes” can be recovered by posing such questions. With an open mind, even a practical invention may occasionally be found in a ”mistake.”
Mistakes –ultimately deviations– are to be welcomed where we have opportunities to learn from them. This kind of ”favouring the mistake” is most likely to reduce mistakes! Risk communication certainly contributes to this. However, mistakes are certainly not intended to be repeated or to lead to still worse errors – dangers, which the error taboo increases.
This constructive attitude for dealing with deviations leads to a learning organisational structure – adaptive and competitive. Simultaneously, external whistleblowing becomes superfluous and the risks associated with external whistleblowing can be thwarted. It is therefore integral part of our consultations.