Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Making mistakes

I confess I'm still picking away at that Tom Peters list, this time point 17: No mistakes, no progress! (A lot of fast mistakes, a lot of fast progress.) (Australian businessman Phil Daniels: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.")

I think this over-simplifies and misleads - the problem with slogans. A lot of mistakes is not per se a good thing. Mistakes do not of themselves create progress. Trying lots of stuff, some of which is going to fail, and being happy with the prospect of failure, that is a good thing. Trying in the knowledge that you can learn from failure and go forward is a good thing. But mistakes have to take place on the road to somewhere, a mistake has to create a step upwards or it is just that - a mistake. And lots of mistakes are just lots. of. mistakes.

The message is not to make mistakes but cherish them when they happen, as they will if you are trying hard and innovatively enough to get somewhere.


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