If you are not making mistakes, you are not taking enough risks! As I used to say when I was a VP of Operations, mistakes are good. Repetition of the same mistake is bad. This reminds me of the famous story of Lee Iacocca. I don’t remember it exactly; however, it was something similar to the following: Someone made a $1 million mistake. He called the person to his office, and the person thought they’d be fired. Instead, his perspective was the opposite – he’d just invested $1 million in the person’s training.

Of course, it is desirable if your mistakes do not total $1 million, but it is rare for mistakes to be that significant. Mistakes are not fatal. On the contrary, it is imperative that we start encouraging our children, employees, peers, etc to take risks and innovate. The only way to push the limits is to make mistakes. The key is to learn from your mistakes! Don’t waste time feeling bad; instead, use them as a learning opportunity.

Innovation will be key to success, especially during the recession. The “tried and true” is unlikely to stand out in the crowd and provide value add; instead, it is critical to experiment with new ideas and new or revised products, services, processes and technologies to find a path to success.

So, test the waters, push the envelope and make a few mistakes – you’ll likely end up far ahead of your competition.