CHAPTER FOUR

Learning from Failure in Public

The Power of Small Group Consultation

IN THE OPENING CLASS, Heifetz sent an important signal when he said, “I can’t think of any encyclopedia for you to learn more from than the encyclopedia of your own failures and successes.” The conviction that adults learn best from their own experience and that experiences of failure are a potent source of curricular material takes case-in-point teaching to the tender and fertile core where optimal learning dwells.

When a person holding formal authority is presumed to be the leader, there are enormous pressures to finesse failure and rarely, if ever, to admit to making a mistake. Since he or she is expected to maintain or restore equilibrium within the social ...

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