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Time and time
throughout the history it has been observed that all the self-made millionaires
are masters in learning from their successes and failures. They tend to work on
their strong points and work on ensuring that the same mistakes don’t occur
again. Most of the entrepreneurs and professionals do not want to make the same
mistakes again or even adopt a method in which they’re not certain about their
Our brains are naturally designed to have cognitive blind spots that cause us
to overlook our mistakes or find it difficult in admitting them. Our brains
shield our egos and the defense mechanism in our body protect ourselves from
admitting or confessing the mistakes we make. However, if you make an effort in
overcoming this weakness and confess your mistakes to your organization it
would actually make you feel that I was worthwhile. Confessing our mistakes
would allow us and the organization to make better decision for the coming
future, keep small issues from turning into unsolvable bigger problems, take
responsibility of your job, and learn from your mistakes (McKay).
To own up to your
mistakes and then making better decision cause you to become a responsive
employee. This is reflected by the CEO of Red Hat. He talked about how in order
to have a more engaged workforce, you have to well engage with the people. The
key to success is having better communication skills and find ways to connect
with your people. Make them feel like they can talk to you about anything and
own your mistakes if you have made them. He gave an example of a roundtable
meeting he was having with the CIOs of a company in which he was giving them
leadership lessons from his book. In the meeting some of the people from
audience were also present. After the meeting they called the CEO and
recommended him about some of the missing parts in the book. This made him
content about his work as his consumers felt comfortable having access to him
which caused more engagement. Thus the key to engagement is being more
accountable to the people of your organization, simply having the confidence to
own your mistakes and admit you’re wrong. He further talks about that being a
leader doesn’t make you always right, it’s about telling the reasons for why
you did something and then being accountable for your results. (Whitehurst)
A situation occurred in
2007 when severe winter storm hit the areas of Midwest and Northeast of America
disrupting air travel and creating and sense of panic among passengers.
Thousands of flight were delayed or cancelled but Jet Blue suffered the worst.
Apparently it had an operational meltdown which caused the passengers to wait
until 11 hours for the flight. The CEO of Jet Blue later wrote an apology
letter to all his passengers which was full of empathy and explained the whole
event how things went wrong and confessing their mistakes. It was a heart
melting letter and seemed that company actually is committed to its consumers. Consumers
appreciated this a lot and no adverse effect was experienced regarding their
The first step to
success or take a U-turn when you’re facing downfall is to confess to your
mistakes. The downfall of Starbucks and its revival in 2008 is one of the
biggest milestones in the corporate history. Its CEO Howard Schultz left a
successful company but after eight years he had to return back. The first thing
he did was made a public confession that leadership has failed 180000
Starbucks’ people and it families. He felt partly responsible for the failure
and told his people that everyone in the company should admit their mistakes
and start working on them. That was the turning point of the company, as if a
burden was off the shoulders. Being consumer oriented should be the main focus
of every company so owning up to your mistakes not only makes the consumers
think that you care it also makes you trustworthy. With some serious crises
like financial problems due to recession and competition the company had to
adopt a smart strategy which they did by confessing their mistakes and working
on them. (Ignatius)
So the main reasons on
why companies should confess their mistakes are:
It earns you
respect of your consumers and other employees.
misleading management to change
It creates a
circular vision and helps in evaluating the dynamics on regular basis
In order to be
on the top of ecosystem you’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of your
consumers and follow what they want
If an organization
wants a sustainable future then they have to be brave enough to own up their,
mistakes, learn from them, and make strategies to improve them.
hyatt, michael. "TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR
MISTAKES." michael hyatt (February 26, 2007).
Ignatius, Adi. "The HBR Interview: “We Had to Own the
Mistakes”." Harvard Business Review (JULY–AUGUST 2010).
McKay, Brett & Kate. "Personal Responsibility 102:
The Importance of Owning Up to Your Mistakes and How to Do It." art
of manliness (February 19, 2013).
Prince, Russ Alan. "How To Learn From Your Business
Mistakes." forbes (JUL 23, 2015).
Whitehurst, Jim. "Be a Leader Who Can Admit
Mistakes." Harvard Business Review (JUNE 02, 2015).