Failure must be celebrated!!! Seriously … it must be!
Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda, said it well: “Success is 99% failure.”
Failure allows for variation far beyond what was expected–you make a wrong turn but find a better road to your destination.
Thanks to mistakes, we now have incredible medical innovations like penicillin, smallpox vaccine, pacemakers, and Viagra. Check them all out in the book Happy Accidents. It shows that half the advances in medicine were as a result of failure!
This is why it’s so crucial for companies to foster a culture that celebrates mistakes, the kind that can stimulate thoughts and generate new paths.
If leaders do not allow failure, they will kill innovation.
A culture of innovation must tolerate mistakes and failure!
Why …. Because it is the mistakes that create insights and stimulate innovation.
Punishing failure stops anyone from taking the risks necessary to succeed with innovation.
Sadly, most organizations are not very good at accepting failure. Most just want to eliminate errors altogether. This is because most managers are compensated for results rather than innovation.
You can learn from the mistake that your team made as long as it was born of smart thinking.
Good mistakes are those that brought knowledge and experience to the team. Take what went wrong, apply it as a lesson learned, and get back on track towards innovation.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, the founders of Barefoot Wine (no relation … damn it) embraced and celebrated every mistake they made in their book The Barefoot Spirit .
So as we step into the New Year, let’s all flip the notion of failure on its head. The founders of the world’s largest wine brand definitely did!!
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