The Flaw of Perfect Executives Who Make No Mistakes, Mistakes are not Tolerated at this Company

Rarely will you find Executives Talking about the Mistakes they have made.  Ed Catmull has a talk at Stanford where he talks about mistakes made.

So many executives take the strategy of I am at the top and will show you what perfection looks like.  We should all strive to be perfect like I am.

In a fear-based, failure -averse culture , people will consciously or unconsciously avoid risk. They will seek instead to repeat something safe that’s been good enough in the past. Their work will be derivative, not innovative. But if you can foster a positive understanding of failure, the opposite will happen. How, then, do you make failure into something people can face without fear? Part of the answer is simple: If we as leaders can talk about our mistakes and our part in them, then we make it safe for others. You don’t run from it or pretend it doesn’t exist. That is why I make a point of being open about our meltdowns inside Pixar, because I believe they teach us something important: Being open about problems is the first step toward learning from them . My goal is not to drive fear out completely, because fear is inevitable in high-stakes situations. What I want to do is loosen its grip on us. While we don’t want too many failures, we must think of the cost of failure as an investment in the future.

Catmull, Ed; Wallace, Amy (2014-04-08). Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Kindle Locations 1750-1758). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This sets up a culture where mistakes are not tolerated.  No one is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  So what do you do?  You learn to hide your mistakes and/or make sure others get the blame for mistakes.

When you push for something innovative you are constantly making mistakes.