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Monday, March 3, 2008

It’s Great to Learn from Your Mistakes…Once!

Something happens to take you off plan. Sometimes it can’t be avoided…the first time.

But how do you avoid getting your plan derailed a second or third time? One way is by revisiting implementation efforts that go awry and addressing questions such as those below, turning the answers into lessons that you and your team can use in the future to guide your actions:

  • What happened?
  • What was the root cause – really?
  • Was there a backup in place? Yes or No? Did the backup fail as well?
  • What were the indicators that there would be a problem? Did we notice or ignore them? Will the signals likely be there next time in a comparable situation?
  • Was available information not gathered or processed?
  • How did we deal with missing information?
  • In what ways might the situation differ next time?
  • If we think it was “back luck,” how do we create “good luck” next time?

These few questions will go a long way toward providing a foundation to improve your performance next time. For an insightful, more in-depth look at various types of mistakes and the personal perspective and processes to address them, check out this essay from Scott Berkun. And while you’re doing so, poke around on his website. I just started, and it looks like there are a lot of cool ideas to discover!

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