There are two types of errors that we make. The first type is public and can be easily reviewed.
The second type is not obvious and are not easily reviewed so they are nicely tucked away ‘under the carpet‘.
The first type is errors of ‘commission‘. These are errors when we do something that should not have been done. We plan poorly. We execute poorly. We review poorly.
Good operators review these errors and make adjustments so that they do not happen again. They learn.
The second type is errors of ‘omission‘. These are errors when you don’t do something that you should do. You don’t call-out unacceptable behaviour. You don’t speak up at a meeting when you ‘know‘ that the decision that has just been made is going to fail. You see an opportunity to improve yourself but you let it slip by.
Please note that errors of omission are not errors that you judge in hindsight. They are errors caused by not taking action that you knew you could have taken at the time the error occurred.
Errors of omission are just as important as errors of commission to review. If you keep repeating the same errors of omission then you will reduce your capacity to learn and to become the very best that you can be.
Asking yourself, your team or your organisation to identify actions that you knew you had the opportunity to take but you didn’t take provides an opportunity to review the thinking that stopped you from taking the action when the time was ‘right’. Exploring these examples will provide you with real learning that will better position you the next time similar situations arise.
Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.
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