I worked with a company once that had a value of ‘no mistakes’. It was on their website. What they were trying to communicate was, “Dear Customer, the product you will get from us is high quality and error-free.”

The goal was aspirational, and the company CEO was getting frustrated because it wasn’t being met. His company’s product continued to contain errors and calls from the clients were very uncomfortable.

It might seem like a good idea to have a value of no errors and a mistake-free culture. People, however, learn from mistakes and a safe to fail environment allows them to do that.

Here are some of the things that were happening in the company with the values of ‘no mistakes’:

  • Employees did not feel safe to make mistakes. They would work long hours to ensure they checked and rechecked their work. This lead to burnout and dissatisfaction;
  • Employees would cover up mistakes rather than highlight them to their manager for fear of being sanctioned.

This was driven by two words on a website … and pressure from the CEO to make it happen.

What are your company values? Are they having any negative impacts on your company culture?