Compensation Cafe, E. James Brennan, 1/20/2011
If you are not making mistakes, you aren't doing anything important. You probably aren't learning anything, either, if everything you do is done perfectly every single time. Learning is a process of trial and error. No trial, no error, no learning.
The importance of mistakes is undeniable. You can read Peter Drucker on the subject or you can listen to John Cleese give his classic speech (mms://netstreamingsolutions.com/Video Arts/P_JC2_02.wmv) on The Importance of Mistakes. Personally, I found Cleese no less cogent in substance but a far funnier speaker. As a historical side note, I happened to be presenting at that same conference where Cleese’s speech contained in that video was recorded, was the first to shake his hand before that keynote speech and was in the audience when it was delivered. That video, available in the link above, contains some of the most memorable and important lessons I have ever heard.
The facts are irrefutable and beyond question. Mistakes are essential for learning, improvement, productivity and creativity.
This video by John Cleese is one of my all time favorites. And, it's a really important message for innovation, creativity, and leadership among others. I have a large format video of the talk that I purchased some years ago, probably in the 1980s. It's nice to see an online version available through the Compensation Cafe link above. If you want to license the talk, click on the Video Arts link below.