Does Wrong Equal Failure?

One of the cornerstone moments of my school days was being made to stand in the corner in 4th class because I gave the wrong answer to a question.Fortunately I recovered and now look forward to the mistakes I make.Yet it could have been otherwise and has been for many people.Our school system in the western world far too often focuses on getting it right and punishes those who don't. And whilst the goal to get it right is important we also need to celebrate those who make mistakes. Why? Mistakes are where genuine creativity and original thought comes from.Sir Ken Robinson in his highly entertaining 2006 presentation to TED stated that, "if you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything original".Urban legend has it that a junior employee walked into his boss's office with his resignation in hand after having made a mistake that cost the company $5 million. His boss, who recognized the value of mistakes, refused to accept the resignation stating that, as he had just spent $5 million on training the employee, he wanted to get a return on his investment.Wow! Imagine working for that boss!Yet what do we so often see in similar situations? Someone punished, in one form or another, for making a mistake.If punishment is meant to deter someone from doing the same again it certainly works in those situations. The punished employee will work very hard from now on to avoid mistakes. He or she will not take any risks; they will avoid suggesting alternative methods; steer clear of revolutionary ideas; stay silent at brainstorming sessions; and general stay well within their "comfort zone".In an enlightening blog entitled "The Fine Art of Making Mistakes", Dragos Roua lists "The Seven Rules of Making Mistakes". Worth reading as he makes some good argument for doing just that - making mistakes - and then knowing how to learn from such a practice.The world of business is littered with people who have gone broke on more than one occasion - read made a mistake - and then gone on to be very successful. Henry Ford and Walt Disney are just two.So what is your approach to making mistakes?Do you willingly experiment with ideas even though they may "crash and burn"?Or are you someone who "tiptoes carefully through life so you can make it safely to death"?Geoff Kirkwood - Challenge The Impossible!