Was rewarding mistakes a smart idea?
We added 'Stumble of the Week' to our Friday meeting agenda, here's what happened...
I still make a lot of mistakes building Lexoo. It’s painful - I get this sinking feeling in my gut every time.
But rationally I know that every time I mess up, I learn a new deep lesson. I guess that embarrassed feeling is the price to pay for progress.
At Lexoo, our core business is negotiating contracts for high growth tech companies. And as shocking as it is, our internal team of lawyers make mistakes too!
I’ve found that when we shine a light on what went wrong, we can easily avoid it happening again. Usually by plugging a gap in the playbooks we use.
So there’s a huge company benefit to surfacing this stuff. But for the individual it’s hard to share…
We’ve been experimenting with ways to solve this. How can we get everyone comfortable sharing their mistakes and learnings?
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How we currently do it:
📅 We added a final agenda item to our Friday all-hands called “Stumble of the Week”.
🗣️ I ask anyone who stumbled that week to share their story - I go first whenever I can. After someone shares, we all pile in to thank the person for sharing. It’s brave and massively helps the company.
✍️ Most ‘stumbles’ point to a gap in process in the company. So sharing often leads to a quick chat about whether we can plug that gap.
I’ve found that new joiners find it hard to share their stumbles initially. That’s ok. After seeing others share for a few weeks they usually join in!
It’s also helpful to once a month remind everyone:
❓Why we have the “stumble of the week”: i.e. helps the company fix things!
🧑🤝🧑 How generous it is to share: even though we all stumble, it’s still painful to publicly share it with your peers. It means showing up and being a leader.
💯 Sharing mistakes makes you a high performer at Lexoo and it’s 100% safe to do so - we have zero tolerance for blaming or pointing fingers.
I can honestly say that “stumble of the week” has transformed Lexoo. It surfaced so many things we can easily fix. And those fixes compound week after week.
Have you come across any other approaches to learn from mistakes? Would love to hear them.
In case you’re curious, we borrowed the idea from Mathilde Collin (CEO at Front), who blogged about it years ago, thanks Mathilde!
P.S. If you need help with any of these things, please do keep us on your radar :-)
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