How important is making mistakes? A common message you hear from motivational speakers that you need to fail fast and fail often. In fact, there is a famous story and quote about making mistakes by Thomas Edison.
One of the most prolific inventors of all time, Edison acquired over 1,093 patents. One night in December 1914, thirteen buildings in his West Orange, New Jersey manufacturing facilities were heavily damaged by fire. Edison lost almost one million dollars in equipment and the records of much of his work. This was at a time he had worked for ten years on a storage battery and it had greatly strained his finances.
Thank God We can Start Anew
The next morning, walking about the charred embers of his hopes and dreams, the sixty-seven-year-old inventor said, There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew. Three weeks after the fire, Thomas Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.
Thomas Edison, as an inventor and entrepreneur did his share of making mistakes. Most people, whether as a small or large business, feel the same way. Of course, if you are not risking and exploring new areas, you diminish your chance of making mistakes.
However, the habit of making too many repeated mistakes can also close a business. With many businesses transferring to an increased online platform and placing a larger emphasis on service, many are still making mistakes that are costing precious time and resources. For this reason, sometimes bringing in an outside source to identify weak areas pays off in droves.
I was reminded of this at a recent trip to a home improvement store. As we are remodeling our kitchen, I am fortunate enough to now gain a full pantry area. I had noticed a sink that would work perfectly at this particular store and it was on clearance.
When I went to purchase it, the only sink available was the floor model display. After purchasing it, what happened next was a good illustration of making mistakes. Mistakes that could be avoided in the future with better communication among the management and floor teams.
I observed that disbanding a display can prove tricky if there is little or no communication between the sales associates and display installers. Apparently, there was a different type of screw or bolt used on each of the four corners of my sink display along with several clamps that couldn’t be accessed from the front. Of course, to make it more difficult, the display was placed on an elevated platform. Soon, there were three associates on a ladder all working hard to free the single sink. At this point, watching the three associates try to loose the sink was pure entertainment. It had now been twenty minutes since I had purchased the sink.
Experience is the Name We give Mistakes
When one of the associates said he couldn’t get a certain bolt loose because none of his screwdrivers worked, I had to comment. Isn’t this a store that sells tools? Maybe you can find one in the tool section that will work. I’m not sure if he went against store policy, but he immediately climbed down from the ladder and obtained the correct tool.
I am not blasting this particular store because I’m certain this happens everywhere. However, it’s a good example of how one department doesn’t talk with another. The issue comes down to communication. If the management in this store realized how much time and effort was wasted in dismantling a display for a customer, putting a system in place would prove extremely beneficial.
Fortunately, I walked out with the sink I desired. However, if I didn’t have the extra thirty minutes, they would have lost my sale. Making mistakes is important and healthy for growth, but make sure you learn from them. I love the quote by Oscar Wilde, Experience is just the name we give our mistakes. Is there something you need to observe and learn from mistakes you have made? Just as Edison said a century ago, you can start anew! I wish for you much experience, as well as much success!
Deborah Johnson is all about using Creativity to expand your business. Get Unstuck and get rid of Bad Code with her new book Bad Code: Overcoming Bad Mental Code That Sabotages Your Life! You can reach Deborah the following ways: Twitter: @DJWorksMusic; YouTube: https://YouTube.com/user/DJWorks; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deborah.johnson; Websites: https://GoalsForYourLife.com; https://DJWorksMusic.com