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Learning From Experience

by Catherine Asta Labbett

Almost a decade ago I was a General Manager of the Risk Management Department of a large acute NHS Trust hospital.

It was my first role in the NHS and you can imagine how much goes wrong, sometimes seriously wrong, when you are in the business of saving people’s lives.

I would oversee investigations, and one of the things that stuck out for me over and over again was that we didn’t always learn from mistakes we made, because the same incidents would happen time and time again.

One of the things I introduced during my role there was ‘Learning from Experience’ post incidents. Taking the time to reflect on why it happened and what we learned from it.

Most importantly, what action we would take collectively and individually to mitigate it from happening again. 

It didn’t take me long to realise however that the majority of the stuff that went wrong was out of the control of that individual, and often the Trust itself. It was that realisation which led me to the decision to take a more strategic role in the NHS at a national level – a role whereby I could influence the policy and strategy, and perhaps make more of a difference. 

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because when you work for yourself it’s a constant learning from experience curve. 

Reframe the ‘failures’ and turn them into ‘learnings’. It’s that experience which will help you to grow. We all hit bumps in the road, and it’s those bumps which teach us to slow down at the next ones.

You don’t have all the knowledge. 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I guarantee that if your view everything as ‘Learning from Experience’ you’ll be a whole lot kinder to yourself. 

We are all human beings. Constantly evolving. Constantly learning. Things go wrong. I think most entrepreneurs would say they’ve at some point on their journey made bad decisions and judgements (especially when it comes to people!). 

But the most important part is that you take that learning and you use it to move you forward. 

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  • #failure
  • #leadership
  • #learning
  • #women in business
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