How to Correct Mistakes? (Hint: With Ice Cream, Not Cottage Cheese)
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An October 16 article in the New York Times explained how one smart CEO handles big mistakes by his employees. Dan Schneider doesn't berate, he doesn't scream, he doesn't even reprimand. Instead, he has the mistake maker throw the staff an ice cream party. "I don't really yell anymore because it accomplishes nothing," he says.
Now, there's some evidence that drawing attention to a mistake makes your learner more likely to repeat it. But usually when you make a big fat mistake on the job, you are well aware already! No attention need be drawn. Schneider's response is brilliant. He imposes a cost (ice cream isn't cheap), but that cost doesn't involve fear. In a workplace with a collegial atmosphere, I'm willing to bet it's not humiliating either. And the experience of sharing pleasure at the ice cream party could encourage staff to respond to errors not by trying to hide them but by trying to fix them.
It's very similar with dogs...
When you're training your dog and she makes a mistake, there's a cost -- she doesn't get the reward she was working for.