Cultural change starts at the top and so to foster a culture of whistleblowing and the embrace of failure it implies, how about executive blowing the whistle on themselves. That is the essence of the advice by Financial Time columnist Ade McCormack in his piece “Time to embrace failure?”…
- “I recently wrote a piece for my blog on the need for the corporate chief information officer to maintain a personal screw up log …But I think the idea of a failure log has much greater application across the organisation…Failure should never be a surprise. In fact it needs to be proactively planned.
- The problem is that failure is often confused with mistakes. The former arises as a result of attempting something that has never before been tackled, and so was to some extent expected. Mistakes on the other hand, arise from the inability to execute something you already know how to do. So mistakes are ‘carelessness of process’ and are of course to be discouraged. But again failure is to be encouraged.
- This of course makes difficult reading for the heroic CEO who believes he is infallible. Or for anyone else who believes they are part of some ‘best and brightest’ elite talent pool…The arrival of social media helps considerably in respect of failure monitoring. With the right technology we have instant access to our failures by listening to what our markets have to say about us.”
The picture above is a mash-up of one of Hugh’s pieces on failure from his post “Random Acts of Traction” where he underscores the volatile nature of progress in creative ventures. He concludes quoting Esther Dyson, “’Fail cheap. Fail fast. Fail often. Always make new mistakes.’ Words to live by. Exactly.”