The Importance of Making Mistakes

If you haven't made many mistakes in your life, you haven't taken enough risks. And if you haven't risked much, you aren't reaching your creative potential.  The problem could be a fear of failure, because in our minds mistakes = failure, and all that comes with it.

A few years ago, I started thinking that I wanted to add another dimension to my practice. I thought through a number of ideas, read various articles and books, talked to colleagues, procrastinated, stalled out, felt confused, etc.  My goals at the time were vague.  I wanted to do more, take the work to another level, have a new creative challenge.  But what?  It was a time of false starts, dead ends, and disappointments. The process, though incredibly frustrating, has taught me a lot about how to learn from mistakes.

One of these mistakes was choosing to go on a local news show once/month to briefly talk about a psychological concept.  I feel embarrassed just writing about it.  I tried to keep it light (it was weekend morning news after all), but I was anxious, and I never got to communicate what I really wanted to, and it was very early in the morning, and it was awful.  But...what I realized through that experience was that I really do want to bring psychology to people where they live and work, not just wait for them to come to my office.  A big, uncomfortable step.

Fortunately, I have my share of these type of experiences that when sorted through make adding business consulting to my portfolio an obvious and exciting choice.  So join me in taking a risk. 


Fostering Creativity in the Workplace

How do we foster that creative edge among employees?   

Creative performance and productivity are directly related to the quality of the organizational culture.  A positive culture fosters clear, direct, open communication.  It increases job satisfaction which, in turn, contributes to employee investment and commitment.  

For it to be effective, organizational culture has to be created and maintained from the top, and has to be part of the mission statement of the company.  Employees need to believe they are valued to contribute at a deeper level.  

3 Key Steps:

  1. Fostering Communication:  Communication should be fostered in all directions both formally and informally.  Formal communication policies can include 360 degree performance evaluations, in which employees are also required to give constructive feedback to managers.  Managers can hold "office hours" on a regular basis to encourage drop in work-related conversations.
  2. Identifying and Nurturing Employee Strengths and Interests within the Company. 
  3. Explicitly Rewarding the Behavior You Want To See:  The culture of secrecy around rewards/incentives (raises, bonuses, promotions, etc.) doesn't foster motivation.   It is important to make the link between specific behaviors/outcomes and incentives explicit. Create clear pathways for people to follow, and make individual achievements and rewards public within the company.