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Ways to Prevent Mistakes

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

I've had countless failures.


Although still making mistakes, I'm definitely better. More importantly, I welcome the chance to learn from new ones.


We should embrace failure. That said, it's worth preventing if possible and addressing when needed.


- Set expectations -


Many instances of mistakes arise when only one side's expectations are met.


To avoid this, ask and then formalize the goals, deliverables, timing, and stakeholders. By repeating the words both in talking and in writing, you can confirm intentions.


- Assume positive intent -


Strive to understand why decisions were made. Although othersโ€™ mistakes can be incredibly frustrating and embarrassing to you, itโ€™s rare they were intentional.


Seek a teachable moment by offering ways to handle the same situation which align better with your values and goals.


- Communicate clearly -


Many problems arise when words unexpectedly cause issues, especially through email, which lacks tone or body language.


Speak directly if you need to convey complicated or tough news. After any big mistakes, consider a postmortem.*


Avoiding mistakes is meaningful. Learning from failure leads to success.


* Postmortem: An effective process emphasizes constructive learning (not accusing), incorporates input from everyone involved, describes the divergence in expectations versus reality, separates what was controllable and not, and finishes with clear steps to apply going forward.


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