Find the moral and teach it

This exercise comes from Laszlo Bock’s excellent book on the creative culture at Google*. Mistakes are bound to happen whenever you’re trying something new, so it’s important how you handle the mistake. Bock’s advice – find the moral of the mistake, the fundamental lesson you’ve learned. And then make sure you teach it to others so they don’t make the same mistake again.

Try using this worksheet to organise your thoughts. If you are doing this exercise with a group, get them all to fill in the first box silently at first, then compare their answers (rather like the approach in a Pre Mortem exercise). This will allow people to describe what went wrong without being influenced by other people’s version of events. Then share all the possible causes of the mistake and decide:

  • what’s the moral or fundamental lesson we’ve learned?
  • who do we need to share it with?

Credit: *Work Rules, by Laszlo Bock.