I think the language we use sets the tone for what we do. There are choices in how we set that tone that we don’t always recognize.

An example: “mistake.” The word has so many negative connotations. Embarrassment, failure, and incompetence are some of the words that are associated with the word mistake.

Where do most of the improvements in a collaborative endeavor, like a remodeling company, come from? Not necessarily the successes. The successes are typically taken for granted, realistically speaking. We all tend to expect things to go well.

Mistakes are the real meat and potatoes of continuous improvement. When something does not go right, consider regarding it as an “opportunity” because that is what is being presented to your company.

One of the definitions in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of “Opportunity” is “a good chance for advancement or progress.” Certainly, learning about what could have gone better and then using that information to create positive change is an opportunity.

Leaders and managers can dramatically improve the results of those they work with by this subtle shift in perspective. Shifting from a blame mentality to a solution-oriented mindset frees up a tremendous amount of energy for all in the company.

What the company does to prevent the same “opportunity” from presenting itself over and over is what builds value in the enterprise. Knowledge is a product of experience and the most useful experience is to be learned from mistakes opportunities!

Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. paul@remodelersadvantage.com

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