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Initiating Failing Forward Meetings (TRN4-J44)


This job aid introduces the concept of failing forward meetings, or mistake meetings, and describes how to embrace, reflect on and share insights on mistakes made as a group learning opportunity.

Published: March 9, 2023
Type: Job aid

Download as PDF (161 KB)

Initiating Failing Forward Meetings

In any failure or mistake, there is always an opportunity for learning. Imagine working towards a workplace where mistakes are recognized and seen as part of learning. As a team member, you can contribute by initiating "failing forward meetings" also known as "Mistake Meetings."

How to Start?

  • Try coordinating your own "mistake meeting" with your colleagues.
  • The meeting can be informal and short.
  • Create a safe space for you and your colleagues to share mistakes and failures.

Give an Overview

  • Give an overview of what happened.
  • Briefly share the steps you took in completing the project.
  • Briefly outline the outcomes (positive, negative, or neutral).

Get to the Heart

  • Get to the heart of the mistake and reflect on what may have caused your failure or mistake.
  • Before meeting with the group, think of what may have been the cause of the mistake.
  • Share with the group and allow them to provide insights.

Outline It!

  • Share with the group what you learned about yourself and your working style.
  • Share what you learned about how your team works together.
  • Discuss process improvements that may have surfaced.
  • Wrap up what you learned not to do.

Move Forward

  • Ask the group, what we can do next time for a better outcome?
  • Develop a plan for taking what you learned and apply it for your next project. 
  • Continue working with your team to share what worked and what did not. 
  • Consider scheduling your meetings once a month.

Practical Tips!

  • In some workplaces, the notion of "challenges meetings" or "failing forward meetings" may be more adequate than "mistakes meetings."
  • Ask members to come to the meeting with at least one mistake when they feel ready.

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