Mistakes happen. I don’t like them. I aspire daily to excellence, to improvement, to ever higher levels. However, I acknowledge that daily reality falls short of perfection and as a leader I must plan for mistakes, build systems for recovery.

The best thing about mistakes is that they create a learning opportunity. However, if only those directly involved in a given mistake learn from it, then the lesson is lost for the many.

I subscribe to a magazine for pilots (I have a single-engine land license) that has a regular feature titled “What I Learned From That,” where pilots write about flying mistakes they made and the lessons learned.

Businesses would benefit greatly from internal versions of “What I Learned From That,” where various team members share their learning experiences. People are often reluctant to admit to error, perhaps fearful that others will think less of them.

However, after reading the “What I Learned From That” flying articles I am always grateful for the lesson learned and have a sense of respect for the pilot willing to share.

As for the mistake, most of the time my reaction is “there but for the grace of God go I.” We are all flawed humans and even the best of us have off days.