They fail often, and they often fail intentionally
In the enduring battle to stay relevant, to stay in business and to ride the next economic shock wave businesses have to fail, fail in order to learn and innovate. Failure, however counterintuitive it may seem is not something to be avoided. Sadly, as a consequence of 12 years of conditioning in the education system – the feeling of failure has become inextricably but thankfully not irreversibly linked to the feeling of shame.
Shame is a dangerous emotion, as PsychologyToday writes:
As a self-conscious emotion, shame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, or regret about which others may or may not be aware. Another person, circumstance, or situation can trigger shame in you, but so can a failure.
When failure = shame, we avoid it al all costs. Companies that can reverse this association open up a portal of potential. When failing is ok, and we’re not going to be thrashed for it, a whole new mindset abounds. That is why companies with great cultures fail – because failure is the key to innovation, and being innovation ready comes down to culture.
The tricky thing is reworking peoples thinking to being ‘ok’ with failing and then creating work environments that live it. This is not a new conversation, but when it comes to the nitty gritty ‘things’, the habits and rituals that will help take failure off the pedestal here a few things companies like HCL technologies and Facebook do to fail and redefine failure that might work in your business:
- Trust Issues: “If your organisation has trust issues – you’ve got innovation issues. If you have innovation issues you might soon find yourselves having an issue staying relevant.”
- Try writing a Failure CV – HCL Technologies do.
- How might you reward failure?
- Leveraging Hackathons to make failure work for you:”By normalizing failure, we encourage risk taking.”