The fear of failing in our society is a primary reason why people never seem to rise to the occasion of a real challenge. I’ve learned a great deal more than i would have if I were to succeed all the time and never fail. When you fail at something, it forces you to drop all one’s ego and false sense of inflation.
Most people I’ve talked to believe that failure is bad (of course!). They also believe that learning from it is pretty straightforward: Ask people to reflect on what they did wrong and exhort them to avoid similar mistakes in the future—or, better yet, assign a team to review and write a report on what happened and then distribute it throughout the organization. These widely held beliefs are misguided. First, failure is not always bad. In organizational life it is sometimes bad, sometimes inevitable, and sometimes even good. Second, learning from organizational failures is anything but straightforward. The attitudes and activities required to effectively detect and analyze failures are in short supply in most companies, and the need for
context-specific learning strategies is underappreciated. Organizations need new and better ways
to go beyond lessons that are superficial (“Procedures weren’t followed”) or self-serving (“The
market just wasn’t ready for our great new product”). That means jettisoning old cultural beliefs
and stereotypical notions of success and embracing failure’s lessons. Leaders can begin by
understanding how the blame game gets in the way.