Within every organization, people have to deal with mistakes and failures. Both employees and employers make mistakes, which is definitely not a bad thing. A decennium ago, a decade ago, and nowadays mistakes happen, but the way people deal with them may have changed. Yet, the question remains the same and concentrates on the circumstances when it is okay to make mistakes, and subsequently how to deal with these failures?
Why mistakes happen
To check the circumstances, under which mistakes happen, the main reasons are twofold. First, some mistakes are made on purpose, which questions whether these can be considered as mistakes at all. The second reason (and closer to the concept of failure) is mistakes that happen accidentally. Underlying reasons for these accidental failures range from (over)motivation, exhaustion to being distracted. Regardless of the reason, when people are not concentrated, failures are looming.
Be open about it!
Hence, if people make mistakes, they should communicate this to their customers so expectations are set well. Perhaps customers may not be willing to pay as much for products or services as the price tag states. However, product failures can also bring value to the customer, especially when the mistake does not hamper the core functionality of the product or service. On the contrary, a customer can even gain more value from a product, which has a failure at first stance, but also may now have different functionalities. Hence, the customer gains value from having a mistakenly better product, and the organization, in which the mistake was made, can expand its product portfolio.
Mistakes as business opportunities
Furthermore, the circumstances, under which mistakes happen, make it seem that mistakes are predictable. Yet, they cannot be completely prevented. Moreover, once mistakes are in place, they can be embraced as an opportunity instead of a threat. In order to make an opportunity out of mistakes, the key is to be open about them. Employees should be open about them to their employers in order for the employers to learn from them and inform others within the organization to learn from the mistake made. This happens either by preventing these mistakes in the future or by regarding the mistake as a business opportunity that brings in ideas for new products or services.
Does it need correction?
No, not every failure needs correction. Sometimes customers may even gain extra value from a product with an initial failure, it may be even better not to correct the mistake. Moreover, sometimes the failure does not harm subsequent processes, so that failure correction would only cost additional resources that could be allocated differently. Nonetheless, there are two instances where failures may need correction. First, failures need correction when damage has been caused, which prevents the customer or user (if the outcome is used within the organization) from gaining value. Second, correction aids (organizational) learning. In this case, the producing employee becomes more aware of the failure and learns from the mistake. The latter is a clear example of single-loop learning that takes place in every organization. Conclusively, failing is neither cool nor fancy, but certainly contributes to learning and, in the end, to customer satisfaction.
Verantwortlich für den Artikeltext: [ Steffen Keijl (-sk) ]
Quellen und Links
- Link zur Quelle im Netz
- [ Archivkopie via Archive.org ]
- Video "Offen mit Fehlern umgehen" shown at the third Vienna Innovation Conference by the City of Vienna on January 24, 2018.
- Presentation by Mag. Elke M. Schüttelkopf MSc MBA at the third Vienna Innovation Conference by the City of Vienna on January 24, 2018.