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The Power of a Team that Makes More Errors

The most successful organizations I work with are solution focused.

  • Identifying and resolving issues is the priority. There is not a culture of tolerating when it isn’t necessary.
  • Identifying and planning execution for goals is the priority. Putting goals on the backburner because there are too many fires everyday is not seen as “easier.”

Here’s the thing, all owners and leaders have goals. Either ones they developed on their own, or ones they were given. But having a goal alone is like creating a problem – It’s a lack of something.

And having the execution plan is solution focused – It’s the gain of something tangible and possible. The execution plan is what keeps you long-term oriented and near-term focused. You know what you want and how you are going to get there.

There are a lot of resources out there to tell us best practices for setting goals and executing on them. You might have listened to podcasts, read lots of books, or even watched some YouTube videos on how to resolve your problems or grow your business. And while those could be resources for absorbing content, the application is always so much harder.

People are so variable and unpredictable, and things never go exactly as they did “on page 27.”

So I encourage you to keep resourcing and learning, but think of the content you absorb as a jumping off point. And if it doesn’t quite work exactly as it did “on page 27” don’t toss it in the trash too quickly. Use your attempts as information gathering, and then adjust and continue onward.

Here’s where I suggest you start to gather information – Leverage the knowledge and experiences of your team. When it seems like something is not working out, encourage them to help you adjust and continue.

This does require a key factor, and that is to foster an environment where failing is safe. Feeling safe to admit errors or mistakes or failures is key to improving performance. You can’t fix what you don’t know, and they won’t tell you unless they feel psychologically safe to do so.

And here’s the catch – you might see “more errors” for a while.

Amy Edmondson (Harvard Business School professor) explained it well when she noted that better-performing teams seem to make more errors than worse-performing ones, because the better-performing teams admit to errors and discuss them more often than other teams (ones who hide errors).

Teams who feel “psychologically safe” bring up issues which allows organizations to course correct and cut through problems faster. That allows you to keep executing on your goals instead of having fires to put out. That’s being solution oriented, and that’s what will grow your business faster and easier.


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