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Embrace failures to build a learning culture

"Who works makes mistakes". But those who make mistakes often get negative reactions from colleagues and management. That causes fear of trying something new and the organisation stagnates. That really has to be different.



Ultimately, the goal must be to create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable to make mistakes and to learn from getting better - a culture of continuous improvement.


How does the leadership react?


Errors and critical incidents are inevitably: Crashing websites, products are broken, customers get angry. How leaders react can form the culture of an organisation - for the benefit or evil. Accusing leads to finger methods, resentment, distrust and unproductive behaviour. It can cause an organisation to stagnate, where people get the feeling that their efforts are not appreciated.


Responding without reproaches, on the other hand, creates an environment of learning and growth in which employees acknowledge that errors are part of the process and that their efforts are appreciated - a flawless culture. Within a flawless culture, leaders blame processes, not to people. They focus on understanding why something happened, not who is responsible.


Learn sincerely and together from the mistakes


By striving to identify the main cause of a problem, they create systems that prevent it from happening again. Leaders in guiltless cultures also recognise that they are part of the system, so they take responsibility for their own mistakes - such as insufficient communication about an important issue or making a bad decision - and they do not expect perfection from themselves or others. This encourages employees to be open about their mistakes and to use them as learning moments instead of hiding them for fear of retribution.


This does not mean that errors have to be overlooked; They must be tackled constructively. There are three ways to use failures to get ahead.


  1. Reformulate incidents as opportunities.

  2. Reward people for sharing knowledge.

  3. See what went wrong to continue.


Read the MITSloan article Embrace Mistakes to Build a Learning Culture by Ben Laker for more explanation of those three ways.


Learning: a critical phase in digital adulthood


This article by Ben Laker particularly appealed to me because it resonates so well with what we are trying to achieve with the TIMAF model for digital maturity. The middle level of that maturity model is the learning level.



The Learning Level is an important phase in the way of a successful digital transformation. Here the Organisation Learns to Measure and Improve the Strategy Organisation -Wide, to Better Work Together, to use More Data in Making Decisions and the Leadership Also Works Actively here to give a Better Example.


Don't skip learning!


Certainly in Western Oriented Organisations, People Sometimes Want to Skip the Importance of Learning. But Learning is Essential and It Takes Time. Learning goes with Trial and Error. Achieving the learning phase in Digital maturity is of a task for an organisation. And then take another three to five years to Learn from the new approach.


After the Learning Phase you can continue to the next phase and be fully responsive or even predictive. The Learning Phase naturally also yields many positive results for the organisation, customers and employees. It is not that nothing happens in those learning years. But more is experimenting and people learning to find each other in that trial and error. Management plays a crucial role in this.


What Phase of Digital Maturity is Your Organisation?


Anyone Who Wants To Successful Transform the Organisation Into A Leader In The Market Must First Gain Good Insight Into The Digital Adult Hood of the Organisation. The TIMAF Digital Maturity Model Helps With This. It indicates in which phase the organisation is at and what still needs to be achieved to be the leader.


Do the self -test to get a first Impression of the Digital maturity of your organisation.

You will receive a number of recommendations when asked. For more advice you can always contact us.

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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION TRAINING & CONSULTANCY

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