What does "failure" mean in your organization and how is it handled? When someone makes a mistake, are they shamed and blamed? Or is that failure viewed as a learning and growth opportunity and met with grace and encouragement?
While most of us do everything in our power to avoid failure, here are several reasons why you should be willing to fail more often.
We learn from failure in very powerful ways. In a way, there is no such thing as failure - only lessons.
The perfect plan won’t work unless it’s executed. When we are unwilling to fail, we tend to overanalyze, waste time, and take less action, for fear of getting it wrong. This means we get fewer opportunities to try things out and course-correct. They say practice makes perfect. That’s because practice allows you to micro-fail over and over again until you get it right.
Being unwilling to fail almost guarantees that we will fail to even start.
Avoiding failure doesn’t actually decrease our chances of failure, it amplifies it. When organizations don’t allow and embrace failure, it only increases the absconding, secrecy and shame around a failure - it doesn’t get rid of it.Think of Boeing’s "culture of concealment" around the 737 Max plane that led to the horrific consequences of 2 fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. If an organization doesn’t allow failures, it has no visibility on real problems when they arise, and therefore no power to fix them.
We strengthen our growth mindset. When we allow ourselves to fail, we’re building resilience and resolve that will allow us to carry on with our goals and dreams despite the missteps or challenges that come our way.
Are you ready to embrace failure in yourself and your team?
"One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning." - James Russell Lowell
Read: The Failure-Tolerant Leader "Failure-tolerant leaders" are leaders who, through their words and actions, help people overcome their fear of failure and, in the process, create a culture of intelligent risk taking that leads to sustained innovation. Learn how to develop this trait in yourself and your team in this Harvard Business Review article.
Instead of viewing our mistakes as failures, we can instead view them as a positive learning experience and a chance to get smarter and better, says Professor Carol Dweck in her TED talk on the power of "yet".