Leading speaker and business innovator shares why avoiding ‘mistakes’ is bad for business
For many business leaders and their employees, the idea that mistakes must be avoided at all costs is an unquestionable reality; one that is undermining the future of many businesses. One global study revealed that the fear of failure is potentially stifling Aussie innovation, and a survey out of the USA found that same fear is the single biggest factor in low staff accountability and productivity.
“If your staff avoid accountability, responsibility or starting new initiatives, chances are high that they are simply afraid of failing,” explains international speaker and business innovator, Gary Douglas.
Douglas is an internationally-recognized thought leader, best-selling author and dedicated advocate of Benevolent Capitalism. He is determined to change the conversation about failure and help business leaders realise that “there is no such thing as failure in the business world.”
“Some people misidentify leadership and misalign it with micromanaging. In order to avoid mistakes, they disempower their staff and remove any ability for employees to choose, explore and innovate”, Douglas remarks.
According to Douglas, the most effective managers allow others to do things that they, themselves, may not choose – even if that looks like allowing a ‘mistake’ to occur. In doing so, the employee is able to accept accountability for the outcome and receive the awareness from the choice they make.
“True leadership is the ability to transform anything; the ability to empower people; the ability to bring people forward with their capacities and enhance that”, he advises. “What if there are no mistakes? Choice always gives you awareness and awareness is priceless.”
Douglas encourages business leaders to become more comfortable with failure by:
Allowing employees to work through and learn from their mistakes
“When an employee ‘fails” get them to look at what they now know that they didn’t know before. Rather than looking at the result and judging it as wrong or as a failure, get them to ask, ‘What else is possible?’ If they are willing to stop judging, if they are willing to look at what their choice created, if they are willing to continue to ask questions, they are a contribution to your organisation.”
Being aware of the real reason some employees repeat mistakes
“If you have someone who keeps repeating the same ‘mistake,’ either they don’t really want the job, they are settling for a career they don’t really care about, or there is something getting in the way. Ask them questions. Ask them to be honest about what it is they desire and what they would like their life and their career to look like. Empower them to get clear on what they desire in their life and then to choose it. Failure is nothing but a need for change.”
Realizing that ‘failure’ is ultimately assisting you
“Good leaders don’t look at anything as a failure. If something you’ve chosen didn’t have a particular outcome, ask questions. What is right about this that I’m not getting? What else is possible here that I haven’t considered? How does it get any better than this? When you are willing to ask questions, when you are willing to look at what your choice created, without judgment, you simply choose again.”