Learning from failing, not learning to fail

18 08 2017

“There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” ~ Colin Powell

I have a philosophy that client satisfaction comes first (i.e. treat every customer like they’re family).  IF, in the course of doing your best to let the client know that you care, are empathetic, and really want to help, you make a tactical mistake, then you and your leader should talk about it and learn from it.  Mistakes, or as the quote says, failure creates experience.  When you make enough mistakes, you will create enough experience to make wisdom.  Wisdom is not much more than learning from mistakes – hopefully not just your mistakes, and sharing your wisdom with others.  Learning from the mistakes of others is a gift that not everyone has.  It’s our job, as leaders, to understand when a mistake happens, and communicate to your team ways to avoid it.  That’s usually in the form of new training materials, e-mails, etc.

Making one honest mistake will rarely get you fired, depending on the cost of that mistake.  I often talk about the $250 “get-out-of-jail-free card” for front line staff.  The dollar amount goes up as you move up through the org chart.  It’s a lot more expensive to replace someone than the cost of the mistake they have on their card, as long as they don’t hide it, and instead learn from it, and communicate it, so that others don’t have to make the same mistake!  So, when you create a little “experience” of your own, through a mistake, please own up to it, and share the wealth of your knowledge.  Mistakes are not always a bad thing, especially if made in the face of enhancing a customer’s experience, and letting them know we care.  Happy customers mean company success!


Rubes cartoons used with permission.  www.rubescartoons.com




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