Mistakes Were Made

Mistakes Were Made


At Etsy, employees are encouraged to make their mistakes public. People will send out an email to the entire company or a list of people saying I made this mistake, here’s how I made that mistake, don’t you make this mistake. It’s called a blameless post mortem. At Etsy mistakes aren’t seen as an opportunity to blame, but to gather data about what doesn’t work. The company also gives out an annual award—a real three-armed sweater— to an employee who’s made an error. The sweater goes to whomever who made the most surprising error, not the worst one, as a reminder to examine the gap between how things are expected to happen and how they actually do. I actually confirmed this story when I ran into an Etsy engineer at lunch this week. Learn more and see an example email at Quartz (6 minutes).