Reviewing my notes I discovered a delightful article by Fernando Trias de Bes from December 8, 2013 in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. With his sharp pen, he points out the interesting way that multiple choice tests are frequently scored. I quote the opening paragraph: “Test exam. The teacher hands out the paper and tells the students: Remember, the wrong answers lower your scores“.
Of course there is a trend to make less mistakes when they cost points. And one of the most effective alternatives is to take less risk.
If this pattern of taking minimal risk by following the pre-established standard norm is applied to the letter, one should not be surprised that entrepreneurship, in many cases is just a buzzword or a legitimate refuge for those who cannot find other professional alternatives. We shouldn’t forget, of course, those who really want to put into practice all their entrepreneurial drive, under any circumstances.
We have often seen that failure is penalized. It is not just a cliché. It is embedded in many of our educational and training systems. However, it is in our hands to influence risk taking. The mistakes, the failures and the rise from them are learning experiences moving towards.
As my appreciated Fernando wrote later in the article “When errors lower the points, students answer the questions calibrating whether leaving blanks is a better tactic to pass the exam”. Fantastic! A system designed to assess knowledge becomes a system of minimum mistakes (what you have for sure weighs more than the potential achievement).
This reflection is applicable to many professional environments. Isn’t it?