Please don't fail! 10 tips to avoid mistakes

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Text comes from: Die Macht der versteckten Signale: Wortwahl - Körpersprache - Emotionen. Nonverbale Widerstände erkennen und überwinden (2014) from Dr. Gabriele Cerwinka, Gabriele Schranz, published by Linde Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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However, error culture does not mean that mistakes should be made at all costs - the first priority is to avoid mistakes. What does that mean for the values ​​in the corporate culture? The conclusion of our value check:


Here writes for you:


Dr. Gabriele Cerwinka cerwinkaDr. Gabriele Cerwinka is a shareholder of Schranz and Cerwinka OEG.


From the author:




Here writes for you:


Gabriele Schranz SchranzGabriele Schranz is a shareholder of Schranz and Cerwinka OEG; Vienna - Zurich.


Failure culture does not mean promoting mistakes

When we come across error culture, we often run into fears that whoever allows or encourages error culture in companies automatically promotes errors.

But that's not the case Sense there. Instead, it's still about avoiding mistakes as much as possible - but by learning together in a team, not by punishment and control. You can find out how to do this in the following 10 tips.

Learning at all levels

Permanent learning processes at all levels are the result. All new findings are immediately incorporated into new training content. This continuous analysis process is also important and future-proof, particularly for successful companies.

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In the past, some successful companies have demonstrated how fast it can go without becoming a permanent self-reflection from the flyer to the loser.

Clear game rules

A positive culture of error creates clear rules for all. They apply to everyone, regardless of the level of education and hierarchy, and prevent arbitrariness and different actions in different departments.

They thus create transparency and uniformity throughout the company. All have access to the results of the internal error analysis.

10 error prevention tips

  1. Reward: In spite of everything, mindful action and the avoidance of mistakes are paramount. Mistakes are not made conscious in order to have a "learning source" more. Making mistakes is not forced. Because not the error, but the disclosure of errors including suggestions for improvement is rewarded.
  2. All in one boat: There are no fronts and cliques when it comes to detecting and preventing mistakes. Everyone involved, regardless of their position, meets as a partner and not as an opponent in root cause research. Nobody falls in the back of another. All are included equally.
  3. Leadership: Executives are role models in dealing with mistakes. They remember and maintain the norms and values ​​listed here. They live these values ​​and never act contrary.
  4. Individual responsibility: Cohesion and backing of supervisors are crucial, but do not release the individual employee from their own responsibility. Everyone takes their responsibility in avoiding mistakes and making suggestions for improvement.
  5. Documentation: Knowing how it came to the mistake, what exactly happened and what is being done to avoid the mistake in the future, is considered a valuable resource. Errors are therefore documented and thus represent an important part of the knowledge management of a company.
  6. Objectives are made transparent: Also the goals of the error documentation are clearly communicated. It communicates why it is important for everyone not only to be open about mistakes, but also to help with the documentation - and thus with the anchoring in the general corporate memory. It is about shared experience rather than individual punishment as a goal.
  7. Permanent training: The findings from the error analysis flow continuously into the training process. The content is constantly adapted in workshops and other internal training measures; the error culture is therefore also part of the training culture in the company. This also makes everyone aware of the importance of “lifelong” learning.
  8. The view over the horizon: Creativity and visionary thinking are promoted and valued positively. Those who are not afraid of failure also dare to go new ways. Only a fearless climate enables the development of new, creative approaches - even if they seem so absurd and fantastic at first.
  9. Learning to live with the consequences of error culture: Of course, this culture of mistakes, anchored in the value system of a company, leads to constant, albeit often small, changes.
  10. The end of control addiction: For many, this steady letting go of the familiar makes it difficult to get involved-in-new. But together and with the support of leadership and ongoing motivation, the new approach to change succeeds. Anyone who understands changes and can understand new measures will slowly change his perspective. The goal is for all employees to perceive changes predominantly positively.


Anyone who promotes a positive culture of error does not necessarily cause more mistakes. Rather, it promotes shared learning that ultimately leads to greater avoidance of mistakes. And that should always be the goal of the matter!

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