Friday, February 7, 2014

Lean Quote: If You're Not Making Mistakes, You're Not Improving

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.— George Bernard Shaw

Mistakes are unavoidable in life and leaders certainly make their share of them. Any time you look to break new ground or technologies or whatever it is you are leading, you open up many new avenues for mistakes and they are inevitable with change. You can’t have one without the other and so learning to use mistakes well is an important leadership trait.

Fear of failure is a genuinely scary thing for many people, and often the reason that individuals do not attempt the things they would like to accomplish. But the only true failure is failure to make the attempt. If you don't try, you gain nothing, and life is too short a thing to waste. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not improving. Henry Ford said, “Failure is merely an opportunity to begin again knowledgeably.” Failure is an inevitable stepping-stone to great achievement.

But to have success, management must create an environment where it is safe to fail. Failure is an expected part of the process of finding solutions. If workers feel that they have to “hit one out of the park” every time they come up with an improvement idea, they will be reluctant to provide their ideas. In a Lean environment, failure and success should be met with the same level of enthusiasm and support.

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