The Benefit of Mistakes

Jennifer Polanz
There’s a lot of pressure in the world today to be perfect. Let’s talk about the benefits of not being perfect.

This year, one of my kids’ favorite classes was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). Each grade level had an age-appropriate story problem to solve—for instance, second-grade heard a story about a student who had to find a way to store popsicles for a fun event for 24 hours. They were tasked with designing, building and testing coolers to find the best materials for the project. Fifth-grade’s was, of course, a bit harder. They had to design, build and code a robot that could enter a hazardous materials site, pick up items and move them.

Why am I telling you this? Because the kids had to work together in groups to design their projects, test them and then figure out why they didn’t work because, inevitably, you don’t get it right on the first try. And that’s the part that’s important here. Plus, once you’ve determined what’s wrong, the challenge is often fixing it without impacting what’s right; the two can be inextricably linked. It can be a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of process.

What I liked about the STEM class as a parent is two-fold: they worked with other students as a team and there was no pressure to be perfect. It was all about discovery, and methodically identifying the working processes and the non-working processes. They keep working the problem.

I think we can all take a lesson from that. Every day in our businesses there are things that are going along swimmingly, but they are never perfect and there are always ways to improve. So we need to step back and methodically pick apart the areas that aren’t going well to identify why and brainstorm how we can either make it better, remove it completely or find some other alternative to what’s happening now.

We (Green Profit) can help some, too. In this issue, columnist and retail expert Bill McCurry has provided a well-researched checklist of existing technologies that you may or may not be familiar with to help streamline areas of operation like security, general operations, marketing, payments and more. You can run through the list to see what you’re doing now, what you would like to do and what you definitely don’t want to do. Check it out (ha, because it’s a checklist, get it?).

Diving a little deeper into one specific area, freelancer extraordinaire Katie Elzer-Peters helps with working your marketing, ads and PR budget. Marketing and advertising are classic cases of trial and error, and she’ll give you the rundown on how to spend your money more effectively.

Your customers also are going through a similar process, fixing mistakes they make in their garden. Griffin’s John Johnston helps you help them with summer solutions.

And finally, the breeders of the world help to create solutions on the bench with new introductions. Turn to page 28 in Green Profit and page 48 in GrowerTalks to find out everything new from Spring Trials 2018.

Here’s to never being perfect. GP