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  • Writer's pictureMehmood

Celebrating Failure

Innovative organisations create and foster a culture of experimentation. This by definition means a culture where it is ok to get things wrong, it is ok fail!

We understand this at an intellectual level. However, it takes a lot of effort and patience to really put this into practice.

We need certain guard rails in place to ensure experiments are appropriate from organisational risk perspective and that we see failure as an opportunity to learn. The key aspect is to create an environment where individuals and teams can fail and not be penalised for it.

I have seen organisational leaders talk about encouraging teams to try new things and fail, but then take them to task for not achieving the intended results. So it's about aligning actions with words.

One way I have created and fostered a culture of experimentation is by creating an initiative to celebrate failure where people would talk about failed experiments and mostly their learnings. This initiative has been a massive success. Mindset changed from brushing problems under the carpet to boasting about who made the biggest mistake.

The key here is that people should also talk about future experiments and this would be the opportunity for teams and leader to agree if failure would be acceptable in that context. Perhaps it is not acceptable to try an untested approach on a mission critical project. In that case, that experiment could be stopped before it starts with mutual agreement.

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