Failure IS an Option if You Want Success


“Failure is inevitable, so the key to success is to be good at learning from it. The ability to capitalize on hard-won experience is a hallmark of the greatest organizations.” Robert I. Sutton

I was reading one of Sutton’s articles about mistakes and how leadership handles them and his view is dead-on. Most companies look for a secret weapon or secret boxed approach to sustainable success—I am sorry to break it to you, it doesn’t exist. What does exist, are the simple actions that make a big difference. No one, no business, no technology is perfect or all-knowing. Therefore, mistakes need to be expected, accounted for and people need to be taught:

  • How to handle mistakes made by others, and
  • How to handle their own mistakes

This simple thing can make a huge difference in a company’s success. Your employees need to feel that mistakes are expected just as success is. When mistakes are not tolerated on the way to success, a company cannot be innovative or creative. Innovation and creativity are the first to go when employees do not feel safe. How many people get something perfect the first time? Failure and mistakes encourage learning. I was once taught to think of mistakes as “learns” or “opportunities to learn.” When you change your own mindset on how you think about mistakes, you will see a world of new opportunities where before you only saw failure.

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