Making mistakes at work is a prerequisite to growth. However, failures can be costly IF we do not learn from them. Here are three steps to transform failures into learning opportunities and put those lessons into practice.

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Acknowledge the error

The first step is to own your mistakes and accept full responsibility. Without ownership and transparency, we risk breaking trust and respect amongst our colleagues and clients – a precious commodity in today’s hybrid cultures. Secondly, recognise that failures do not mean the end of the road. Instead, it can be the beginning of something new and innovative. For example, auto-tycoon Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy before starting the Ford Motor Company, and author J. K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before publishing the first Harry Potter book. Here are five keys to changing our perspective on failure today.

Take a step – or two steps – back

We often judge our mistakes quickly and critically without proper contemplation of what transpired. While we should not dwell on our failures, reflecting on them can be productive. Take the time to look back and ask yourself tough questions, such as: What went wrong? What can I do better next time? How would I describe this failure a year from now? Experts recommend writing them down to better process the information.

Observe failure through multiple lenses

“Think like an experimenter,” suggests Professor Luis Martins from McCombs School of Business. “Smart failure involves testing a hypothesis based on good reasoning, assumptions, and data”. This means asking for feedback as a post-failure strategy. The more we receive insights from others, the more precise our vision becomes. To help you get back on track, follow our tips on moving past failures to rebuild your confidence.

Stay tuned for part 2, with more tips next week!