Learning from experience rather then having someone else do the work for you is preferable. However, how are you creating the experience environment within your business?If somebody I work with comes to with me with a problem, I will ask them what is the best and worst possible outcome, and what is most likely to happen.
If however we have come off a major issue that impacted our results or service then the key question is “what did we learn”?We all make mistakes and can often repeat them. We all from time to time fail to learn from experiences.
The question of what we learnt needs to be asked to get the best possible solutions. But it’s when and how you ask that determines the results.When to ask: how often have you sat at your desk and a team member comes in and starts to vent? Generally I let them go for short time as they are focused on their own feelings of surprise and disappointment. However not too long into the venting I will ask – so what did you learn from this?
What this does is takes the focus away from the venting and into behavioural changes, how they would handle the situation differently next time and perhaps what dialogue they would use.You can do the same at a team meeting.
How to ask: they need to understand what was the expected result, where are we now and how they got to this point. You cannot get emotionally involved in the conversation. A colleague once taught me that data and facts are needed to be able to take decisions and understand problems. So make sure you do.Who to ask: If you are in team environment ask different people or everyone if you are able to. With a large group make sure that everyone is heard over a period of time. You will always have some members who are more vocal than others. However sometimes you will get gems from the quiet ones, but you will need to ask them first.
Start positive: The group will want to hear what you have to say. Go last and start first with the productive and positive lessons. Make sure that you don’t point out flaws and faults. This does not create a culture of learning.Skip the blame: "What have we learnt?" is a very different question to "Whose fault is it?" Your aim is to create insight and learning's that will change behaviours. When you ask whose fault it is you focus on the person, when you ask what have we learnt you focus on the process and facts.
If you can create this as a habit in your business you will find this works with clients.