As business owners we need to create an environment for our team where they are allowed to make mistakes and learn from failure. Too often, people are scared to take initiative because if they fail their jobs and livelihoods are at risk. In this episode of Franchise Secrets, Chris Oakley and I discuss creating a culture where mistakes are embraced as an opportunity to learn.
Chris is a wealth of knowledge in the coaching industry. He has over 5 years of experience working at Dave Ramsey as an All Access Business Coach and a background in a wide range of businesses. Now the owner of his own coaching firm, his personal mission is to help Christian business owners win in the marketplace and help them leverage their influence and resources for Kingdom impact.
The #1 characteristic of a successful CEO is confidence. So how do you cultivate that? Chris and I discuss that one of the things that make us feel confident is learning something new. Then, we put it into practice. As you’re carrying out whatever you’re learning and gaining experience, you’re most likely also making some mistakes.
But we need those mistakes.
You fall when you learn to ski, right? But you get back up again and get back to the grind. You don’t learn how to play guitar overnight. It takes time and practice to develop a skill. It’s the same with a business! Your employees need to take initiative and grow in their roles. Sometimes, that means stepping out and taking risks.
Business owners tend to be taken aback when we tell them they need to allow their team to make mistakes. They’re even more shocked when the suggestion is made to celebrate those mistakes. After all, mistakes can lose the business money, and that’s the last thing they want! But we want them to celebrate and recognize their team for taking initiative and making things happen.
The last thing you want is to create a culture of fear. Unfortunately, some owners and operators think that the fear of losing one’s job motivates their team to perform higher. Instead, they are so petrified to make a mistake that they’d rather not step out on a limb and try something new. Keep listening as we talk about why this isn’t what you want!
I like to use the term micro-failure to refer to a small mistake—something that is easily rectified. So if we want to allow our teams to take initiative, where do we draw the line? Often, the difference between a small and a large failure is the financial impact. Did the mistake cost the company a lot of money? Is it also taking a lot of time to rectify?
So what is an owner supposed to do?
Set time and money boundaries. So you’ve decided you want your team to be creative, be strategic with problem-solving, and you’re allowing them the risk of making a mistake. Before they attempt something new, have them think about the impact their decision will make. If the decision goes south, you want to know that fixing it will be affordable and won’t consume too much time.
Encourage each individual team member to communicate with you as they continue in a new endeavor. The more they communicate, the easier it is for you to follow-up and make changes as needed. Small mistakes can be easily mitigated because you were aware of the steps they were taking along the way. This strategy allows your team members to feel confident, feel that you trust them, and feel secure in what they’re doing.
Stepping out and taking a chance is where most innovation begins. We want to encourage our franchises to grow, to innovate, and above all to learn from failure. I don’t claim to know everything—but I’ve learned from the mistakes I have made, and am a better individual and business owner for it. Listen to the whole episode as Chris and I discuss in depth creating a culture of innovation where your team isn’t afraid of failure.