Celebrate Failure

23 Nov

So says Richard Watson in this FastCompany column. An extremely interesting observation is regarding people’s response to failure. Most people will deny it, or attribute it to causes outside themselves! This is because as Watson says “Most people believe that success breeds success and they believe that the converse is true too, that failure breeds failure”.

Another interesting viewpoint in the essay is regarding the oft-repeated “tenacity advice”. Most motivational speakers urge people not to give up. They say that if you just keep on trying, you will eventually succeed. And if you don’t, it must have something to do with your not trying hard enough. Watson believes this to be false. He advises us to learn from failure and try again differently.

As Henry Moore said: “The secret of life is to have a task, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is: It must be something you cannot possibly do.”

Watson’s top five tips for failing with greater frequency and style:
1. Try to fail as often as possible but never make the same mistake twice.
2. Set a failure target as part of each employee’s annual review.
3. If projects are a failure, kill them quickly and move on.
4. Create a failure database as part of knowledge management.
5. Set up annual failure awards. If this gets too successful, stop it.

What do you think?

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Posted by on November 23, 2005 in Biz/Tech, Books


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