Scared to take a risk
Sunday 13 September 1998
This attitude amounts to what is generally known as "the blame culture". In many organisations - even some of those that are trying to present themselves to the world as "learning organisations" - this can be so powerful that individuals feel compelled to avoid risk in everything they do.
And yet even in situations like that, mistakes are made. The fascination of hearing how things can go wrong was part of the motivation behind The Independent on Sunday column "My Biggest Mistake". The column proved so popular that it became the basis of a book, and now a team of consultants from Pearn Kandola, the occupational psychologists, has used it in testing the extent to which we can learn from mistakes.
Their book, Ending the Blame Culture, argues that companies do not have to be stuck in this trap. Instead, Michael Pearn, Chris Mulrooney and Tim Payne claim that they can escape the blame cultures that create stagnation through conformity and risk avoidance, and produce "gain cultures" where mistakes are tolerated and even encouraged as a way of pursuing innovation, change and improvement.
In the book they repeat a statement made by Soichoro Honda, the head of Honda, about success representing "the 1 per cent of work which results from the 99 per cent that is called failure". Similarly, the president of an American steel mill is quoted as saying: "You've got to have an atmosphere where people can make mistakes. If we're not making mistakes, we're not going anywhere."
Mr Pearn and his colleagues take care to make a distinction between "undesirable mistakes and intelligent mistakes". The challenge facing individuals is to understand what lies behind mistakes and to prevent their recurrence.
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
iJobs Money & Business
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...