The Risk vs. Reward of Empowering Your Team to Fail Forward

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” asked the Director of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency,Regina Dugan, in a recent Ted Talk.

It’s a question that inspires … but also makes you a bit nervous and uncomfortable, doesn’t it? All of a sudden you realize the impact that fear of failure has had on you your entire life. What could you have accomplished, if only you hadn’t listened to that fearful inner voice disguised as “reason” or logic?

The staff operating under the umbrella of your leadership are limited by their own fearful inner voices AND yours as well. They listen to your talks on “bottom line” and “belt tightening”. They watch what you reward and what you punish. They have a “job” in your organization because they want stability.

“Stability and innovation only go together when failure is allowed … even encouraged.” ~ Authentic Carol Carterism #10

We gain the greatest lessons and innovative new ideas from failures, not from doing the prescribed methods to produce the same results over and over again, day in and day out.

What if the BEST things to do – the things that will set your company apart from the competition, take it out of the “commodity” class and place it in the “go to” class – what if those BEST things fly against the status quot? They usually do. If your team regularly failed forward, to come up with brave and innovative ideas and execute them, sharing and learning from all mistakes along the way, where would your company be five years from now?

What innovative projects would you get your team to start RIGHT NOW if you knew they could not fail? What would the end results be worth to you, your company and the people your company serves?

Now, what failure will you allow and even encourage to achieve those same end results?


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