It’s ok to fail


I was thinking about my post yesterday and I think I could have gone even further.  The hardest lesson at my last start up wasn't just getting people comfortable with the idea of being wrong or having a dumb suggestion; it was actually "it is ok to fail (sometimes)!

Employees were scared to try anything new because they were scared of what would happen if they failed.  But I believe "if you are not failing now and then, I bet you are not truly trying."  You have to be prepared to fail now and then if you are trying new ideas and new ways of doing things. No one has 100% hit rate. I had to show my employees that failing intelligently wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  You don't get the brilliant idea without throwing out a few duds. And, over time, the more you try the better you get.

When is the last time you failed?  Why has it been so long?

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Clarification: What is failing intelligently?  Failing intelligently is trying out the new idea in a sandbox. Or in a test environment. Or running the idea by the subject matter expert first.  Or figuring out how to recover quickly and easily if the idea doesn't work (i.e. take a back up before hand).  Failing blindly or without thought and planning is just failing…

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