The Wall Street Journal reports on an interesting new leadership phenomenon. According to this article by
Rachel Silverman, "Some self-aware managers are trying out “mistake diaries” or “failure
reports” to help minimize the chances that a problem happens twice –
and to help foster an environment where it’s OK to try and fail."
Silverman describes the efforts of Meebo co-founder Elaine Wherry, who has kept a mistake diary for a number of years. Silverman writes that, "Using a series of sketchbooks, she started taking notes and making
drawings to record her mistakes – such as time-management problems and
hyper-perfectionism — as a personal way to remember them." Wherry has even shared her "most common blunders" with her staff, since she noticed many young new employees making many of the mistakes that she had made earlier in her career. (Take a look at a video created by Elaine Wherry by clicking here).
Everyone should note the importance of reflection as a tool for improving as a leader. We can't just focus on what's next, on the newest pressing problem. We have to find a way to carve out some time for reflection if we are to improve and develop. Of course, finding that time can be difficult in hectic schedules that many leaders keep. So, before thinking about crafting a mistake diary, you have to take a hard look at your schedule. Blocking out some time for reflection is hard, but necessary, if we are to identify and learn from our mistakes.