I’d love to ask you a question.

“Do you and those within your organisation feel confident in being open to sharing mistakes and challenges at work?”

Over the last few years, I have asked this question to leaders, executives, business owners and my peers, and eight times out of ten people responded with no.

How your organisation views failure as a whole will ingrain the behaviour of whether or not sharing lessons, mistakes, and challenges is part of the culture. This has a direct impact on productivity and connection within the organisation. People waste time and resources by reinventing the wheel, reliving the mistakes of others, and wasting time researching solutions and information to create future success.

Many organisational cultures do not encourage or condone the sharing of challenges or failures. This means that sharing might never enter your mind, especially if your current organisation is all you have ever known.

Analysts show that Fortune 500 lose a combined $31 billion annually from employees failing to share knowledge and lessons effectively.

The Gift Mindset is the portal to creating a culture of openness, sharing, connection and collaboration.

A Gift Mindset is a mindset where we are open to unwrapping the lessons (gifts) in challenging experiences and even challenging people.

Sharing these lessons can progress us and others forward in an open forum.

Why share challenges and mistakes?

  • When people can share challenges, mistakes, and failures in a safe space, they are encouraged and supported to move beyond these.
  • Promotes innovation and creativity as people feel open to creating and taking risks.
  • It helps build trust and psychological safety.
  • Encourages a learning organisation that promotes learning and sharing.
  • It enhances problem-solving skills and helps get to the root cause.
  • Helps avoid costly mistakes as when discussed, this can help prevent serious errors.
  • Improves team collaboration as openly discussing mistakes encourages teamwork and cooperation.
  • Reduces repetitive errors if these are shared out in the open.
  • Sharing our lessons could be a survival guide for someone else.
  • Identifying “how” we got through something helps us deepen and develop key soft skills such as resilience, optimism, curiosity and growth.
  • Failing to share what we have learnt is selfish.
  • Sharing drives connection, innovation, communication and collaboration.

There are many strategies we can implement, including:

‘Win Wednesday'
Get individuals/teams to share a win and how they achieved it, including the challenges and mistakes.

Create a regular forum to share and learn, which can be done face-to-face or virtually. This provided motivation, sharing of learnings and connection and trust in the team.

‘Failure Fridays'
Share a mistake, challenge, or failure, what helped them through it, and the key learnings.

Discuss the learnings openly; you will see others contribute with similar experiences and lessons.

1:1 Sessions
Individual catch-ups encourage people to share challenges and opportunities and deep dive into what went wrong and how that lesson can feed into future development plans.

It's important to note that while sharing mistakes is beneficial, it should be accompanied by a supportive environment. Employees need to feel supported and encouraged to learn from their mistakes rather than being shamed for them. This will foster a positive and constructive learning culture within the workplace, which we call a Gift Mindset Culture.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Lead to be limitless.