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Get Your Staff Competing to be the Biggest Screw-Up

Reward confessions (and the lessons learned) with a stuffed toy.

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To make the most of your staff’s screw-ups, reward them — ideally with a goofy prize like a stuffed monkey, says Kim Scott, a former top Google executive, in her book Radical Candor: Be A Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. Bring the monkey to an all-store meeting and tell the group that whoever confesses to the biggest screw-up in the previous month or week or whenever wins the prize. On top of a stuffed toy, “they get instant forgiveness and — this is most important — they get to teach everyone how not to screw up,” says Scott, adding that before long, you’ll have people competing to tell of their biggest mistakes. “It totally changes the tenor of the meeting — admitting failure becomes safe to do, and it is a surprisingly effective way to foster a cultivation of innovation,” she says.

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