Mistakes, quick and cheap

Carme Martinell

Alejandro Ruelas-Gossi, the speaker at our graduation ceremony for the 2015-2016 academic year, talks about how important mistakes are as tools for learning and therefore how vital they are for organisations. None of this is new. However, he adds that mistakes should come quick and cheap. And it’s true. Management mechanisms in companies should be able to detect deviations or symptoms fast enough to prevent them from transforming into major problems that are too costly and may be irreversible when it is already too late. Hence the importance of evidence-based management. Indicators, metrics and critical analysis generally involve good decisions and help to make mistakes an opportunity for improvement rather than a blow to the head.

So innovate and let innovation flow, but you should also set up mechanisms for gauging success and invest time in gauging them. When you detect an error, it should serve as a great learning opportunity without significant consequences. Let your people innovate, but they should have a plan for controlling the outcome in the short, medium and long term at the same time.

Carme Martinell

Carme Martinell

Director General of the UPF Barcelona School of Management

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