Own your mistakes

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

We need to take responsibility even if it wasn’t 100% our fault.

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer or more water or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. — Thich Nhat Hanh

It would take more time to find the fault elsewhere than just admitting a mistake. We have to face the consequences. We have to take ownership and do our best to fix it.

The way how we face our mistakes is the key. Admitting them is part of the process. But we need to learn from them too.

Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. — Tom Watson Jr., CEO of IBM

Learning from our mistakes is the key to self-improvement. Did you forget to check the timing of feature release, so it doesn’t disrupt users? Put it on your release checklist for next time. Did you forget to run tests before releasing a feature? Create an automation process that will stop you from making the same mistake.

Lead the way, do not blame.

A blaming culture is one in which people are reluctant to speak out, take risks, or accept responsibility at work because they fear criticism, retribution, or worse. — Naomi Karten

Sometimes mistakes are made because we work in a company that has a “Culture of Blame”. It’s hard to change these cultures from the bottom up. But we can try. We show others that we care. We take responsibility, and we do not blame, and we do not criticize. We lead by example. And hopefully, others will join us.



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Petr Zaparka

Petr Zaparka

I love wine, self-improvement, chocolate and running. I do web development for a living. You can visit zaparka.cz or drop me an email petr@zaparka.cz