Monday, November 11, 2013

Core Values Series Part 4 - Make New Mistakes

Every year we take time to recognize team members that best personify the 5 Core Values of Newmind Group. Those 5 core values are: Be Awesome, Get Stuff Done, Make Things Better, Make Mistakes, Rest and Reflect. This is the fouth article of our Core Values series, written by Newminder Nicolas about Making New Mistakes. Enjoy!
Henry Knox 1775
There’s an old proverb a wise man once shared with me that goes like this:

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”

In other words, if you plan on getting stuff done, there’s going to be some 'stuff' to clean up. 'Stuff' is the bi-product of abundant crops. Mistakes are the cost of productivity born out of risk.

In the 4 min it takes for you to read the rest of this, I’ll attempt to raise your value for taking more risks and making new mistakes so you can benefit from the rewards.


Risk by The Fayj
It all starts with risk, and generally speaking, there are two outcomes, failure or success, mistake or reward, both of which we’ll look at later. The goal here is not to seek out mistakes, but to take risks. Here’s my tips on how to take more risk:
  1. Move fast
    We move slow when we are afraid of failure or imperfection. Perfection is boring, slows you down, and keeps you from getting stuff done. Done is better than perfect, so move fast.
  2. Do something you have never done before
    We play it safe when we are afraid of failure or the unknown. I can’t put it any better than Bre Pettis and Kio Stark have: “Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.”
  3. Get over Fear
    Fear is often the underlying issue that is keeping us from taking risk, but is many times irrational and exaggerated. Level with it and ask yourself, “Why am I afraid?” Pain from our past (mistakes?) may be the reason for our fears. Next, ask yourself “So What?” Is the worst that could happen even likely to happen, and if so, is it really that bad?

Make New Mistakes

So we moved fast, did something we had never done before, and ignored fear. This time, our outcome was a failure or mistake. Depending on what we do next, we’ll either benefit or suffer these results.

Redefine Success

Leading angel investor, philanthropist, and Former journalist Esther Dyson would define this as a success:
“To me, success is to do something new that is useful, keep doing new things that are useful and to always make new mistakes, which is my model, and to learn from those mistakes.”

Clean Up, not Cover Up

It’s not the cultural norm to celebrate mistakes. It’s not unusual for us to try and cover up our mess in order avoid the embarrassment of others discovering our mistakes.

  1. Take Responsibility
    It’s your mess right? Own it, don’t blame it. Swallow pride. Be the first to admit you’re wrong. Apologize quickly and sincerely. The longer you wait, the harder this is. Don’t wait in hopes that things will blow over or try to cover things up.
  2. Feel the Pain
    Embrace the uncomfortable feelings you have around the mistake you’ve made. Remember how this feels, how much this sucks. Get really familiar with it. Don’t beat yourself up, but don’t numb or push down the pain, awkwardness or discomfort that you’d rather not feel. The result? You’ll be less likely to repeat the same mistake again, and paradoxically, will have just become more comfortable with taking risk in the future.
  3. Learn from your mistakes
    Do a thorough review of the series of events and circumstances that led up to where you are at and document it so that you can share your findings. Figure out what went wrong along the way and change it. It may be a change in process, attitude, preparation, environment or something else that will both prevent the same mistake from being repeated and make things better for you and for others.


While we may move fast, try something new and succeed without failure, much of risk’s reward is hidden in how we process mistakes when we make them. If we can value risk and the messes that often come with it, we’ll be rewarded with:

  1. Productivity — We’ll get more stuff done.
  2. Creativity — We’ll get new things done.
  3. Honesty — We’ll be more awesome and less embarrassed.
  4. Growth — We’ll learn from experience and share our knowledge with others.
  5. Fun — We’ll get that feeling of adrenaline that is so awesome.

So go for it. Take more risk, move faster, try something new, make some mistakes, clean up some messes, be honest, share what you learn, and enjoy the rewards.

Nicolas Yarosz is a member of the Sales team at Newmind Group and is proud to have made the most mistakes this year. He spends most of his time working with the Chromebooks Sales team on improving process and knowledge sharing.

Nicolas and his beautiful wife live in Charleston, SC where they are eagerly expecting their first child this Holiday season. Nicolas enjoys good food, good drink and volunteering at his local church.