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Learning from Your Mistakes | Video

Learning from Your Mistakes | Video

We make mistakes all the time. Have you learned as much – maybe more – from the mistakes of your career, as from anything else? The only real mistake is getting things wrong, and not learning anything from your mistakes.

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The Value of Learning from Your Mistakes

Mistakes are often a source of insight and learning. Sometimes they are the spark of creativity that can ignite true innovation. I know that context is critical here, but learn to see the positive side of mistakes. We ought to embrace our mistakes and make them part of our process.

Here are Four Tips for Learning from Your Mistakes

1: Learn from Your Mistakes with an Open Project Culture

Tolerance of mistakes needs to be part of your project team’s expectations. They need to feel safe to share their experiences and be open about errors. Hiding errors won’t make them go away. Make it easy to admit mistakes by setting the expectation you won’t harp on about them.

2: Learn from Your Mistakes with a Systematic Performance Review

Make sure that frequent lessons learned reviews are a part of your project process. Use them to ask tough questions your team needs to address to fix problems and improve processes.

And use your reviews to look for happy outcomes by tracking positive changes you make as a result of errors.

3: Learn from Your Mistakes by Revising the Process

Then, use your mistakes as a trigger to change your processes. Look for ways to error-proof as much of what you do as possible. The Japanese call this Poka Yoke. But don’t worry: no matter how much you error-proof something, you’ll always have a steady flow of new mistakes to learn from!

You can use your mistakes in stories and for teaching trainees or inducting new team members. Or for presentations or conference talks. People love stories and anecdotes with a twist. Ones where you expected one thing and another happened.

4: Help People Learn from their Mistakes by being a Role Model

People look to the PM for cues about what to do and how to behave. So, you need to role model two key behaviors. First, accept other people’s mistakes with curiosity, rather than blame. And second, be open to acknowledging and talking about your own.

It’s easy to catch your people making mistakes. But, to keep the culture positive, make it your business to catch ’em doing good. And comment on it. That way, the mistakes you discuss won’t stand out as the only times you notice what people do.

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What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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