A great article in the New York Times, a few highlights:
Paul J. H. Schoemaker, chairman of Decision Strategies International…
“We get fixated on achievement,” he said, but, “everyone is talking about the need to innovate. If you already know the answer, it’s not learning. In most personal and business contexts, if you avoid the error, you avoid the learning process.”
We grow up with a mixed message: making mistakes is a necessary learning tool, but we should avoid them.
Carol S. Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has studied this and related issues for decades.
“Studies with children and adults show that a large percentage cannot tolerate mistakes or setbacks,” she said.
- We are risk-averse because “our personal and professional pride is tied up in being right. Employees are rewarded for good decisions and penalized for failures, so they spend a great deal of time and energy trying not to make mistakes.”
- We tend to favor data that confirms our beliefs.
- We assume feedback is reliable, although in reality it is often lacking or misleading. We don’t often look outside tested channels.