Lesson 003: Dwelling on mistakes
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/14 ('Conundrum')


The entire crew of the Enterprise loses their (identity) memories due to an attack by an alien.

In trying to figure out who's who, Worf's aggressive Klingon instincts lead him to believe that he is the Captain of the ship (not Chief of Security, his real rank) and he takes command of the Enterprise.

During this confusion, the Enterprise is drawn into a war by the alien responsible for the crew's loss of memory.

After fixing the ship's computer and learning of their true identities and rank, Worf approaches Capt. Picard and apologizes for erroneously assuming command. Capt. Picard does not reprimand Worf; rather, Capt. Picard tells Worf to think nothing of it and dismisses the issue immediately, and brings everyone's focus back to the more urgent matter at hand - the war!


We all make mistakes. It's all part of our human nature and human experience. Mistakes by virtue are errors in action, calculation, opinion or judgment that is caused by poor reasoning, carelessness or insufficient knowledge or experience. Mistakes are inadvertent and should not be considered as deliberate.

When employees, and even managers, make mistakes in their work or in their decisions, we need to focus on the big picture, like Capt. Picard.

We should not dwell on the error and use it as leverage against the one who committed the mistake, but rather, be ready to turn the mistake into a learning opportunity.

By reprimanding and chastising the person for their mistake, a more fearful and, therefore, less effective work environment is generated.

Instead, through a review of the mistake, knowledge and experience are gained by everyone involved, repetition of same mistake in the future is avoided and a healthier, more supportive work environment is created.

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