What does failure mean to your organization?

It’s almost a reaction today to treat failure as a sickness. Organizations are increasingly meritocratic; achievements and experience mean more than values and principles.

We regularly reprimand those that fail with warnings (threats), the docking of pay, scolding, bullying and termination.

Ever seen a worker instantly regret something relatively small?

  • The server that dropped a plate
  • The sales person that lost the deal
  • The account manager that missed a deadline

We’ve been hardwired to think of failure as something inherently bad — something to avoid at all costs, else it may mean our job…

And indeed, sometimes failures ARE avoidable and they SHOULD be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

But what if, in our pursuit for efficiency, we were missing the bigger picture?

More often than not, I’ve observed failure (both my own, and those of others) as something integral to reaching any meaningful goal.

It can be easy to see the best business minds as overnight successes when all you see, hear and read about are their wins. And yet behind those stories are great trials and tribulations, that they have defined as pivotal moments in their quest for greatness. Without them, that business they got popular for might not have even happened…

Why then, are many of us so quick to judge failure as bad?

The truth is, a lot of us are operating on autopilot. We’re led by old ways of thinking that don’t apply anymore (industrial age V today) and we end up punishing and firing GOOD people for experiencing things that — given time and the right guidance — can assist in the professional and personal growth of an individual and their ability to contribute to an organization’s mission and vision.


Dear readers, I urge you to review your approach to failure. I urge you to consider that there are geniuses, entrepreneurs and leaders in all of us that have not yet had the opportunity to shine.

All it takes is some compassion, some patience and a bit of guidance.

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