Learn and Grow From Failure

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Nov 6, 2014

Failure is a buzzword in Silicon Valley. Dave McClure, founder of over 500 startups, had this to say about failure in an often cited Fast Company article: “We’re here trying to ‘manufacture fail’ on a regular basis…being able to figure out what people hate and turn that into what people love…if you’re not willing to take the risk of failing…you’re never going to figure out what the right path is to success.”

Being able to learn from both success and failure is an Own It best practice, but most people and organizations still struggle to get it right. First, they don’t spend enough time understanding and communicating their success. And second, they don’t see mistakes as an integral part of taking “the risk of failing,” which is a Solve It best practice. Taking accountability for failure means recognizing that many of our most important lessons in life and work come from trial and error. Jim Owens, former CEO of Caterpillar Inc., is often remembered for reminding leaders that their most important lessons come from their toughest losses. But only if we learn from them.

Here’s what taking accountability for failure looks like to us:

See It: View the failure from every possible angle until you  understand it.
Own It: Embrace failure like Edison did when he said “I have just discovered another way that doesn’t work.”
Solve It: Continue to ask “What else can I do?” and apply the lessons you’ve learned to help you achieve the results you want.
Do It: Keep moving forward until you can make success happen.

Business failure will never end, in fact it’s growing every day. However,  leaders, as well as organizations, who are faster and smarter at taking accountability for learning from their failure and who continue to take the necessary risks to grow despite it win big in the marketplace. IDEO founder David Kelley approaches failure as a vital ingredient for success, encouraging his people to become comfortable with bad ideas. Why? He firmly believes that people will always miss good ideas unless they have the freedom to pursue bad ideas.

To learn more about taking accountability for failure, we invite you to join our Accountability Community at www.partnersinleadership.com, where you can review the stories and cases studies of actual people and organizations.

See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It, and Accountability Community are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.