14. Make Mistakes

This page is part of the Holacracy Habits series.

Earlier this week, we encouraged you to try out a new habit: be a Ferrari. It means making autocratic decisions for your roles and trusting your co-workers will do the same.

Here are some common examples of not being a Ferrari:

• Secretaries not scheduling meetings because they can’t get consensus on a time from everyone

• Facilitators deferring to strong-voiced meeting participants (especially a former manager)

• Role-fillers delaying actions out of fear that it will create tensions for others

So, to be clear, this habit is not suggesting “be a jerk to everyone,” or “never gather input.” It means driving things forward. It means risk.

When faced with a tough decision, we gather input. But chronic or excessive information gathering usually means we're seeking consensus. We don't want to be the only one responsible if the decision blows up in our face. It makes sense. It's natural.

Consensus-driven decisions give us the chance to feel like we are part of the right decisions, while protecting our reputation from the wrong ones. It’s a smart strategy in most organizations. The rule being, “It’s better to look smart than actually be smart.”

The problem?

It hides pain.

It doesn't gives us feedback from reality.

When I make a decision, I get the chance to really learn what works and what doesn’t. But not if I can scapegoat everyone else in my mind. Of course, no one likes making the wrong call. It's painful. But the alternative is far more agonizing.

People who can't feel physical pain (a medical condition called congenital analgesia) are constantly in danger. They just don't know it. Their body doesn't have the natural ability to use pain to signal "danger!"

Mistakes... pain... it's all just feedback. It helps us learn and adjust.

An airplane flying across the United States is off course 90% of the time. Changing weather conditions and competing flight patterns mean the plane constantly adapts to its environment. It gets constant feedback and makes small adjustments the whole way.

So, be a Ferrari and make mistakes. Make lots of them. You'll learn and adapt.