• Sarah Kallend

How can we learn from our mistakes if we never admit to making any?

Maybe it's all the recent electioneering that has accompanied the present pain of Brexit that has brought this to the attention of my 'Grrrrrhhh-ometer', because we expect politicians to strenuously deny making any mistakes and they never seem to disappoint in that respect do they? I mean, whatever's wrong with the country, its always the fault of the previous lot isn't it? Or in Brexit terms the Leavers... or the bankers of course, don't forget them.  

We say we're hungry for politicians who have integrity, but seriously how well received would a politician telling the truth about Brexit pre referendum have been? The truth being that we couldn't possible predict the outcome of a 'divorce' when negotiations had yet to begin and as in divorce there is usually one person who's pushing for it and one resisting, making for not much in the way of peace and compromise.

I wonder when the world of business and politics collided, or maybe it's always been the same? How many times have you been in organisations where people talk about learning from their mistakes, more specifically, "we learn from our mistakes". Interestingly its almost never personalised, "we" could make mistakes, but "I" certainly won't be admitting anytime soon that I do! And so if you were in that kind of organisation, you'd think that from time to time you'd hear people in authority (or anyone at all) actually admitting that they've made a mistake. And you just don't. What you do hear is spin and smokescreens. Anything to avoid actually admitting that organisations are run by fallible human beings (thank goodness).

It's a strange strategy given that we all know that great ideas and products are almost always preceded by ones that flopped. If Edison had given up on his 2999th attempt to perfect the light bulb you might be reading this by candlelight. By the way, although Edison has gone down in history as the creator of the light bulb, the reality is not quite as simple as that. (Read the story here if you're interested: I've seen this quote kicking around recently and it pretty much nails it,"You were born to make mistakes, not fake perfection" (anon).

Integrity is not saying that things are fine when they patently are not, integrity is not pretending that we never make mistakes (it's the competition that does that right?). What we long for in our political leaders is courage, vision and integrity; isn't it time we demanded it of the people around us too. We could always make a start with ourselves.

#integrity #change

7 views0 comments