How to learn from your mistakes

Rosemary O’Neill


What? You’re not perfect? Nah, me neither. But here’s a little secret: it’s what you do after a problem, crisis, or failure that really counts.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, every day offers new opportunities to learn, grow, and strengthen your enterprise. When you take the time to document your learning experiences, you’re getting leverage for the future. I’m the child of an Army officer, so I refer to these as “after-action reports.”

Once you’ve weathered the storm, and the dust settles just a bit (not too much), do the following:

Bring together all of the players
It’s essential to get together in an atmosphere where there’s no blame assigned. It should be in the spirit of doing things better next time.

Figure out whet led up to the crisis and whether it could have been avoided
Was there a broken process that led to the problem? Perhaps you’ll decide that the problem could not have been avoided, and focus on how to respond next time.

Assign someone to document and make recommendations for change
Ask someone on the team to write a summary, and suggest ways it could be done better next time. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, this would be an ideal time to tap into your mastermind resources or your mentor. It’s possible they have already been through a similar situation.

Share the recommendations

Be sure to share the recommended changes with everyone on the team. Sometimes retraining or new training is necessary. Reinforce the training with some roleplaying if it’s helpful.

How do you formalize your “lessons learned?”


Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out their blog. You can find her on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

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