3 Reasons Change Leaders Must Allow Mistakes
“I would like to say that this change initiative is right on track, and we’re all doing the right things. I’m proud of everyone at this table!” said the leader.
The problem was, the initiative wasn’t on track.
Mistakes had been made, but through his inspiring speech the leader had just inadvertently declared that mistakes were to be covered up like alcoholic Uncle Bob at a family reunion.
If mistakes aren’t being made during a time of change, then change is not occuring. Here are three reasons why change invariably entails mistakes:
- Mistakes are inevitable when traveling through unknown terrain.
- Every explorer or leader worth his salt has taken the wrong path or pushed the wrong action. New territory means decisions must be made without complete information, and if your team isn’t making mistakes, then they’re not doing anything new.
- Mistakes reveal courage.
- Any leader who wants to be sure every step taken is “safe” should be removed from a change initiative. Prudent leaders may be great during the maintenance phase, but the leaders who will take you to the Promised Land are not weak of heart. They have to be willing to move forward when no one else will.
- Mistakes are the only way to get to a new solution.
- We’ve all heard Thomas Edison’s quote that he didn’t fail 10,000 times, he found 10,000 steps to his solution. If managers make mistakes, they should be lauded for moving closer to the solution.