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July 28, 2003             

Mistakes are Jewels

by Norman Bodek

Related Article

Quick & Easy Kaizen


Related Seminar

Mini Kaizen


Watch a baby when she/he first learns to stand. The idea comes, the baby struggles, reaches, holds on, and miraculously stands - then crashes down. The process is repeated over and over again. Eventually, the brain learns the perfect way to stand, remembers it, implants it. Then, standing is done without thought, or struggle.

Almost all learning comes from making mistakes.

When young I had a difficult time at school. Every time I made a mistake I was penalized. Instead of being critical the teacher should have said, "Wonderful Norman, you made a mistake, do it again for you will learn from mistakes" - we all do, some quickly, some slowly.

At work, employees learn and get stronger when they make small mistakes without criticism and then find ways to prevent those errors from happening again. This is why I like the (Quick & Easy) Kaizen process. The focus is on small improvements, allowing people to make small mistakes until they learn properly.

Treat all mistakes as "jewels," opportunities to learn and grow. Examine and study them from different perspectives. Free employees from the fear of making mistakes. Criticism just inhibits learning, closes people and stifles creativity.

Norman Bodek

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