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Deal Of the day

Why is it important to confess past business mistakes?

Why is it important to confess past business mistakes?

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 success (Prince). 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 sales. (hyatt)

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.

·         It causes 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).