We all know the phrase: “You learn from your mistakes” or “Learning by Doing”. Most of the time mistakes happen as a deviation from an established or defined process for several reasons.
- Person did not know there was a defined process
- This action or reaction was not covered in the process
- The person forgot this step in the process
- The person used a short cut and ignored the process
- Distraction from outside created an oversight of a process step
This is just a small example why mistakes occur, and the correction depends on the type of mistake that happened.
- Mistakes that can have life threatening impact on the person or other employees e.g. not following a “lock out” procedure doing maintenance work on a machine, oil spills that can create a hazardous environment like slipping, etc. need to follow immediately a corrective action procedure like the 8-D process, a method for root cause analysis to prevent any future mistakes
- Mistakes that impact the quality of a product or service should follow the same procedure as described in 1.
- Mistakes that are not life threatening or a major quality issue and are more of a procedural issue.
There are two important follow up questions:
- Why did it happen (8-D Analysis)?
- What is the corrective action, so it cannot happen again in the future.
- What did we/you learn from this mistake
In a learning organization you need to
- Create an environment of trust, so people are not afraid to admit to a mistake and come forward immediately when they recognize the mistake
- Reduce the fear of being punished if they voluntarily admitted the mistake as soon as they became aware of it.
- Allow them to become part of the solution, if they are willing to share their experience with others, learn from the mistakes and prevent future mistakes.
Just food for thoughts and open for your comments and experience.