YES! I have made a MISTAKE!

Yes! I have made a mistake! … hardly ever shouts anyone, even though research shows that an organization with a high performing corporate culture learns more effectively from their mistakes than from their successes! Making mistakes is necessary in order to learn and to know whether something works or not.

Personally, I am still learning to learn from mistakes. I have always been a perfectionist. I used to hate it when something went ‘wrong’, that felt like a total failure. I wanted to do everything I did well, and preferably perfect. I wanted to come across as smart and I was looking for confirmation; from teachers, my parents, and probably mostly from myself. My great fear was to fail, to look stupid, to be rejected. The Dutch blame culture of that time certainly did not help. Criticism came across as a threat, the success of others scared me, and when receiving feedback, I was defensive. You can probably guess the outcome: I took much less risk, because of fear of failing or making mistakes. I was my own biggest development enemy! I had a ‘fixed mindset’. Research shows that you have to realize that it is necessary to make mistakes in order to learn, in order to be able to develop. It took a long time before I started to see this. Little by little I learned that criticism was something I could learn from, and I was inspired by talents from others rather than discouraged and intimidated. More and more I got a ‘growth mindset’.
They still sometimes are in conversation, those mindsets ….

Fixed mindset: I don’t think I can do this! I don’t have the brains!
Growth mindset: Sure I can, this is a nice challenge; if I put time and effort into it, it should work.
Fixed mindset: But what if I fail? Then I’m a loser! Do not do it! I have to protect myself from failure and maintain my dignity!
Growth mindset: Sorry, did you say something? I didn’t hear you …

Since I work at YouKnow, my fixed mindset is being tackled properly! I remember that for one of our first assignments I was largely responsible for setting up a content model of a platform for electromechanical maintenance. My fixed mindset immediately showed again: “E-lec-tro-me-cha-ni-cal what!?! I have no technical insight at all, I can’t do this!” Well, I have experimented a lot, I have also been given enough space, but in the end I, together with experts, have created a super swell model with this technical content! Me!! Moi!!

YouKnow believes that in this VUCA world it is necessary to experiment, to make ‘mistakes’. When trying new things, you automatically make mistakes. These mistakes can even provide a guide to innovation! If we never make mistakes, we will proceed too cautiously and we will for sure not innovative. At YouKnow I learn to say to myself: “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”.

I wonder what mindset you have default, and which mindset in your organization is stimulated?

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