Sports are a great foundation for life, and such a great metaphor as well. Let’s look at a mistake in sports. Athletes, like most people, tend to react in two basic ways after a mistake: They emote or they think. When people emote (with anger or frustration), they tend to go into a mode of temporary insanity and the mind stops operating as it should. This negates the possibility of working right away on a correction for the next shot or the next play.
If, on the other hand, people learn to be their own coaches and look at mistakes as opportunities to figure out how to improve, then progress can take place. Coaches and leaders have an important, but delicate, role to play. So many these days make student or employee dependent on them. Instead, we should allow people to work problems out on their own.
We do not do enough in training to have people analyze their mistakes and discuss what they would do to change things. It’s essential that leaders solicit input regularly as to why things went wrong and what the new plan of action will be, whether it is the next shot, the next game or the next business proposal.