Allow your workforce to fail

16/06/2013 Comments Off on Allow Your Workforce To Fail Views: 648 Leadership

Allow Your Workforce To Fail

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Have you ever heard of anyone with a 100% hit rate?

You probably have a host of names running around in your mind right now. Names of people who have, over the years, come to be synonymous with ‘success’. Here’s a couple of their stories. Mr. Narayan Murthy started and shut down a company called Softronics and went back to working for Patni before going on to start Infosys. Maybe you were thinking about Amitabh Bachchan. Well, we all know about his story around his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd. (ABCL) which went on to collapse financially and operationally a couple of years after its launch. It took the much beloved “Master Blaster” Sachin Tendulkar a total of 79 ODIs before he could score a single century.

You know what is the one thing all these great personalities agree upon? The greatest lessons in their life were taught to them by their failures. Today, they are titans in their respective industries and stand strong and mighty, serving as role models to the generations that follow them.

So, our question is, is it really such a bad thing to fail? We could tell you how we feel about it. But we believe the genius Truman Capote said it best when he said, “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.” We think the big takeaway is that failure, far from being uncommon, is in many ways essential. So do we as organizations allow our employees to fail? Here is how allowing your workforce to fail will help you succeed:

A Fearless Workforce

They say that to face your fear is the best way to overcome it. Failure humbles you, it makes you grounded, it calms you down and it makes you stop, think and analyse your actions. Failure makes sure you will never repeat the same mistakes. Failure makes you strong and fearless.

Admitting Failure

So if failure has so many benefits, why not talk about it and share it. If you share first, you will realize that everyone has a story to tell.  Appraisals are vital to improving one’s work but too often they are done for reasons other than learning. If we create a culture where everything you do wrong will not be held against you, employees will be able to reflect on their mistakes, learn from each other’s mistakes, seek each other’s help and work as a team.

Room for Innovation

Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure obstruct our learning and create a road block for innovation. No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about their failures because the only truly “bad” failure is one that’s repeated.

A Craving for Success

The focus now shifts from fear of failure to dreams of success. Your employees are no more thinking about what happens if they go wrong, they are now thinking ‘I know this wouldn’t work, so what else can I do.’ They are no longer bogged down by negative thoughts but they are trying different avenues to reach their goals.

Lessons from Failure

This is really the key. Just failing is not enough and that’s not what we are suggesting. It’s important to analyse why failure occurred, construct the ability to recognize a failure in advance and build mitigation strategies to build resilience.


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