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  • Jennifer Owen-O'Quill

My New Year's Resolution: Make New Mistakes


The New Year is upon us and, to make 2020 the best year yet, I have a Resolution I recommend to all our clients. Make new mistakes. Make new mistakes this year. Plan for them. Prepare for them. Get excited about the possibilities and then go make some new mistakes.

Why do I recommend that our clients make new mistakes?

Setting an expectation that new mistakes will be made creates the conditions for creativity to occur and innovation to emerge. Creativity and innovation do not exist in the absence of error. They only exist in environments where error is allowed. For creativity and innovation to be constant organizational assets, the first mountain to be climbed is the mountain of mistakes.

So make mistakes. Lots of them.

Just be sure they are new mistakes.

The difference between an old mistake and a new mistake is that an old mistake begins to set a pattern of bad habits. We confirm our poor performance when we repeat old mistakes. We reinforce our ruts. We design an environment for predictable un-improvement.

When we repeat old mistakes, the voice in our head says:

· “Here I am in this mess again!”

· “I can’t believe this is happening all over again.”

· “I thought we were past this.”

· “Didn’t I learn this lesson already?”

New mistakes are different. New mistakes reveal new terrain being crossed; new ideas being covered; new interpretations being applied.

When we make a new mistake it feels different. The voice in our head says:

· “I didn’t expect THAT to happen!”

· “What was THAT?”

· ‘I never expected . . .”

· “That did not turn out the way I imagined.”

· “Well, what do I do now?”

We learn something when we make new mistakes. We grow. We cover new ground.

Begin 2020 with this resolution at the top of your list: #1 Make New Mistakes.

Make new mistakes this year. Adopting this leadership perspective delivers you from the mediocrity of safe, same old outlook decision making. It liberates your creativity and allows you to approach problems with permission to innovate and adapt. New mistakes deliver you to an environment of excellence where teams thrive, people are at their most engaged, and progress is possible.

Cheers and enjoy your New Year of possibility and progress. Make new mistakes!

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