We often tell sales managers to allow salespeople to make mistakes, to stumble through a low value opportunity. These “bloody nose” lessons (as my father calls them) are just as valuable as huge successes.
I often learn more from mistakes than successes. In that spirit, I stumbled across this article thanks to the JustSell.com guys. The article details different products that literally came about via mistakes. Some examples – Coca-Cola, Scotchgard, Silly Putty, car tires and many more.
This one caught my attention:
Yellow sticky notes, officially known as Post-it Notes, got their start in 1968 when a 3M researcher tried to improve adhesive tape. What he got was a semisticky adhesive–not exactly what you want out of tape. Even so, he knew he had something cool–he just didn’t know what to do with it.
Four years later, another 3M scientist was getting frustrated. This scientist was a member of his church choir, and he kept dropping the bookmarks stuck in his hymnal. What he needed was something that would stick without being too sticky–something just like that weak glue his colleague had accidentally created. In 1980 the Post-it Note became an official product and a huge hit.
A mistake that eventually became an everyday office staple. As a sales manager, only fear mistakes from your salespeople if they don’t learn from them.