Embracing Mistakes

There was a study done among different teams in a hospital. The theory was this: If a team is well led and successful it will make fewer mistakes than those less well led and with a poorer record of performance.

Makes sense, right?

Guess what? The research revealed exactly the opposite. The best teams actually reported the most mistakes.

Confounded by the findings, the researchers dug in and looked further. Turns out the best teams were so focused on delivering the best service to their patients, that teammates felt it was important to note all mistakes as they occurred and to work through solutions. By doing this, they improved their learning, developed their team intelligence and raised the level of performance continually.

On the successful teams, problems were embraced. Teammates weren’t criticized or sanctioned when mistakes arose. They received consultation, education, were encouraged to try new behaviors. Morale was high. Team performance was heightened.

The less successful teams actually made a lot of mistakes as well. They just tried to cover them up. Teammates feared that their bosses would penalize them so they covered up mistakes. Consequently, less training took place and poor quality care persisted.

So, which hospital would you like to have perform your heart surgery? The one that is embracing mistakes or the one that is covering them up?

Which company would you prefer to get your wood products from?

We ask every employee in every plant to point out our shortfalls so we can get better. Are you aware of something we should be addressing? Have you told someone about it or brought it up for a discussion?