Only make mistakes once
Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone has to make the same mistake. Being open with your errors and identifying the insights gained can help others avoid the same blunders and keep your team on-track.
The best way to learn is to teach
There are countless opportunities for team members to learn from each other, regardless of your organizational structure. One of the greatest benefits to promoting an open community is that in teaching others, team members will inevitably teach themselves.
Ash explains, “there’s never going to be someone more qualified to write [or talk] about your experience of learning something new than you in that moment.” Map out your path of understanding from the initial problem to the final solution. By retracing your steps, you will not only make it easier for other team members to absorb this knowledge, but you will also identify shortcuts for learning, mistakes to avoid, and opportunities for improvement.
Publish your learnings to minimize repetition
When processes or necessary information are not shared openly with a team, a bottleneck forms and dependencies emerge around individual team members.** Avoid having the same conversation over and over by creating a repository of institutional knowledge and enabling any team member to take action. Moreover, publishing processes and the lessons you glean from their development makes a strong statement to existing employees and potential hires that you are committed to open communication and constant improvement.
**To be clear, we advocate for openness by default, not by demand. Some information—compensation, performance reviews, detailed company financials—deserves to be kept confidential and should not be shared internally or externally. By thinking about openness by default, however, you foster a positive company culture where employees feel more comfortable asking questions and providing feedback.
Ash talks about blogs as the ultimate vehicle for open-sourcing ideas, experiences, and takeaways. The Life at Artsy blog is our first attempt to open-source the lessons we learn everyday as we grow and scale a business.