The failure is a topic much discussed in management literature, generally from two perspectives: the “Power of Failure” in prompting (rapid?) learning and “The Fear of Failure” that freezes people from taking positive action and which in the long run almost guarantees ‘slo-mo’ failure.

Failure CAN be a very powerful teacher BUT not all failures are alike.

Failing Forward

Inevitably, failures occur when we move forward. But if we have

– made intelligent effort,

– prepared ourselves,

– done our homework,

– evaluated the risks,

– thought thru our contingency plans,

– executed with energy and effort…

Then the odds are that whatever the outcome, it likely contains something worthwhile, something valuable, we can build upon and move forward.

Failing Backwards

These failures are eminently preventable:

– Repeated failures of the same kind: i.e. a refusal to learn, a lack of motivation

– Failures of compliancy, overconfidence

– Failure to pay attention: lack of commitment, focus

– Failure of inertia: seeing the problem, just not taking action

– Failure to do the necessary work, lay the foundation, prepare, to change

– Failure to recover: to fall on the fumble, to re-new one’s effort/motivation in the face of setbacks

– Failure due to carelessness: not doing as well as we know, not blocking and tackling, not executing.

Mistakes ARE a part of life but dumb mistakes don’t have to be.

Closing Quotes:

“Some people can learn from the mistakes of others, others insist on making them personally.” – Anonymous

“It is from failure that all growth comes, provided you can

– recognize it, 

– admit it,

– learn from it, 

– rise above it, and 

– then try again. 

Dee Hock, Founder & Former CEO, Visa International 

“Fail quickly

– Fail cheaply

– Fail often

– Fail forward.” – Anonymous