February 17, 2020
I would like to share with you an activity that I’ve been using recently with a number of different teams, and I have found to be very effective. I thought I would share it with you, because as a global leader, when you’re working with teams, I can appreciate that sometimes rather than just launching into a meeting, it’s nice to have an activity to break up the pace of what you’re trying to do. This activity is called ‘Mistake Of The Month’ . It starts off by you as a leader, talking about a mistake that you have made in the last month. Talk about what it was. Then you can talk about what you did to correct it, and what you learnt from the mistake. You then go around the room and have everyone share a mistake.
Have them talk about the mistake, what they did to correct it, and what they learnt from it. You don’t need to always go in a circular manner, but you can have everyone come in at different times, but it’s important to have everyone share something that they have done. Now here’s the power of this activity. One, is it creates a tremendous level of humility in the group because it gets everyone to realise that actually we’ve all made mistakes and we’ve made it in the last month, and it’s an ongoing thing. The second thing is to ponder, what, from that mistake, have we actually learned? How did we correct it? That then becomes another important lesson that people learn from each other.
The other thing that this activity does, is actually build a level of vulnerability in a group. It demonstrates that you as a leader have vulnerability. It also demonstrates that even though you are a leader, it doesn’t mean that you are perfect and know everything and even a leader will make mistakes. Of course, bearing in mind that in hierarchal cultures, you need to be careful about how you frame and phrase the mistake. The third thing that I find this activity does, is acts as a leveller in the team. That’s been my experience, it just levels people out. I have found that it creates an opportunity to actually have further discussions in the team about that particular mistake.
How can you bring this activity into your teams? Something you may also want to be thinking about, is when you introduce the activity, perhaps also prime someone to share. Maybe prime another person in the team beforehand so that they are ready to go after you, because otherwise it may create a very awkward silence, people may not know how to react to it. If you are prepared and you’re going to do the activity, get somebody else on side, so that they can go straight after you. That you’ll find, will kick off the activity and give it more power.