Nº2 Go for the “Lessons Learned” Culture

Many people ask me about the main differences I see between the US and Europe, when comes to business.

Of course, there are many differences we could talk about. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to meet Henry Mintzberg in Canada, during a seminar and, he was asked the same question. He made an interesting comparison between the US and European cultures when talking about management.  He said in Europe people look for mistakes and in the US, people expect to learn. And I thought it was an interesting approach to share.

Having worked myself in both cultures I couldn’t agree more with professor Mintzberg. In Europe, even though there’s a risk at generalising, from my own experience when something gets wrong we have a natural tendency to look for the guilty, whereas in the US they have a natural tendency to look for Lessons Learned.

Let’s reflect about it. In a culture where failing is not good, you tend not to act, in order not to fail, not to make a mistake. On the contrary, a culture that favours learning, you tend to act, because you fail if you do not do, do not learn.

It is my advice to companies and professionals I deal with, to go for the Lessons Learned culture, in order to get people into action that at the end of the day, is what allows companies to go forward.

To reinforce the benefit of getting into that culture, I remember when in PepsiCo that the last page in any presentation was “Lessons Learned”, which was sending a clear message to the organization that learning was the way to grow.

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