Seth Priebatsch: How do you handle mistakes?

The most common employee mistakes come in two varieties, says Seth Priebatsch, CEO of SCVNGR and LevelUp–one-time errors and perennial process failures. One should be corrected–but the other should be celebrated. Here’s how to tell the difference.

So handling mistakes is always an interesting question, and what we always try to do at SCVNGR and LevelUp is differentiate between two types of mistakes: there’s sort of point mistakes, where someone does something wrong in a given instant, and there’s process mistakes, where someone is consistently thinking about doing something wrong or tackling it the wrong way. And we actually try and reward point mistakes, because that means you’re experimenting: you hit a fork in the road and you go one way and it works out, it doesn’t — that’s actually worthy of being rewarded. it’s process mistakes that you’ve got to be really afraid of when people are consistently thinking about something wrong and there you have to take a lot more corrective action.

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