Handling Mistakes

One of the things that will determine growth in an organization is the way mistakes and failures are looked at.

Around two years ago, I was presenting at an internal conference in Thoughtworks along with my teammate. It was her first time presenting in front of a big audience and she was understandably nervous.

During the presentation, she forgot what she was about to say and completely froze. I didn't know what to do to encourage her but thankfully I didn't have to.

The entire audience started clapping and shouting words of encouragement. A 150-strong audience cheering for you when you are stuck can do wonders. My teammate was able to continue and we finished to a full minute of applause.

Still gives me goosebumps when I think of it.

If you are looking to build a great org culture, this is how mistakes and failure should be handled. Not with shame and blame, but with encouragement and celebration.