Acknowledge that mistakes happen

Captain Richard de Crespigny on why it’s important to build a just culture

14 December 2018

Mistakes happen everywhere - at work, on the road, at home - every decision comes with an opportunity to make a mistake.

But Captain Richard de Crespigny says the most important thing to remember is that honest mistakes happen to everyone, and need to be treated as such to create a positive workplace culture.

Speaking on The Mentor with Mark Bouris, Richard says there’s nothing worse than pointing blame at people for honest mistakes.

“We have to build a just culture - when a mistake happens, you look to the system first for the governance, and then the procedures, and then human errors,” Richard said.

“You find often a bad system with bad procedures, humans can’t perform in that anyway.”

Once the location of the mistake has been determined, the next step is to work out what kind of mistake it was.

“If there is a mistake, see if it’s an honest mistake, like elevated risk error, or a reckless mistake like someone driving when they’re drunk.”

“That determines whether you give them training or discipline - but if it’s an honest mistake, accept that accidents happen and learn, adjust and change.”