How to Learn

Photo by Elyse

Photo by Elyse

An employee makes a simple mistake.  He's overly concerned that he'll lose his job because he's a contractor, and he doesn't see the opportunity to prevent others from making the same mistake as a result.  Given how many organizations are relying on contractors for staff augmentation, what can they do to encourage mistake proofing over fear?

How other employees and managers react to mistakes plays a large part in how someone will react when they make one.  If others place blame, then it is only natural to be fearful of the consequences.  But if they look at the system to see what caused the mistake to occur, they encourage contractors to do the same and learn.  It is by making mistakes and failing that people learn to adapt, be more attentive, and become better problem solvers.  

So the next time someone makes a mistake, ask questions.  Question everything.  Find out the root cause of the mistake and see if there's an opportunity to prevent it.  But use it as a learning opportunity, not a witch hunt.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.