Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tips for Succeeding through Failure

According to Paul Sloane, the founder of Destination Innovation (, we learn to innovate from failure. Here are some key points to keep in mind in learning from these experiences:

- Recognize and communicate that when you give people freedom to succeed, you give them freedom to fail too.

- Distinguish between two kinds of failure - honorable failure where an honest attempt at something new or different has been tried unsuccessfully and incompetent failure where people fail for lack of effort or competence in standard operations.

- Make sure people know that honorable failures will not be criticized.

- Get people to admit to or even boast about failures they have had where they tried something innovative that did not succeed. Make these into learning experiences.

- In a culture that is very risk averse and keen to apportion blame take the issue head on by rewarding honourable failures. Publicly praise and reward those who have had them.

- The innovative leader encourages a culture of experimentation. You must teach people that each failure is a step along the road to success. To be truly agile, you must give people the freedom to innovate, the freedom to experiment, the freedom to succeed. That means you must give them the freedom to fail too.

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