Categories
Coaching Leadership

Fail in Novel Ways

To be successful, you have to take risks. If you take risks, then sometimes you are going to fail. When you fail, you need to learn from what went wrong.

As a leader, it’s important for you to put in the effort to learn some things before they are actually seen in your context. The risks you take should be smart, and they are smart if you’ve thought about, and mitigated, the familiar ways to fail.

You should always strive to make your failures novel.

If it’s easily predictable, something that’s failed similarly before or a direct repeat of a failing in the past, then you haven’t learnt what you needed. You are letting down those that rely on you.

This Saturday, Swatch launched their Moonswatch, a collaboration with Omega. Only to be sold in stores, available on launch date in limited numbers. Wildly anticipated, certain to be incredibly popular.

These types of product drops are becoming more familiar in retail environments, and there’s a standard playbook to manage them.

Unfortunately, this playbook didn’t make it out to every store. Some managed well and gave people a great experience. Some really didn’t, leading to scrums in the street, the police being called and stores closing a few minutes after opening.

There’s a school of thought that all publicity is good, but here the company could have avoided the bad with better planning and just basked in the good of a well managed launch, a popular item selling out fast and lines of people waiting for their chance.

What basic mistake are you going to avoid? What can you learn today to make sure your next failure is a novel one.

Categories
Coaching Leadership

Space to Fail

When you are learning a new skill, or mastering a new endeavour, you must give yourself space to fail.

If a change is going to be meaningful, there will be risk of failure. However, you can reduce your overall chance of failure by giving yourself the opportunity to make small mistakes, and learn from them.

If you don’t embrace this, then you’ll turn the situation into a binary all-or-nothing. Success / Fail. Yes / No. Put in such stark terms, you may well just choose to do nothing, which is a painful way to miss out on reaching your true potential.

Rather than letting this risk become a big thing, make it small. Embrace an amount of failure as you learn. If it’s perfect first time, then you didn’t find enough to challenge yourself.

In the Build – Measure – Learn model of the Lean Startup, you find an approach that celebrates giving this space. It pushes you to iterate quickly thorough ideas, learn what works and what doesn’t, and to then refine the outcome.

You can apply this model to your own goals and the options you consider when attempting to reach them. Don’t phrase something as all or nothing. Think about the iterative steps you’ll use. How you’ll learn from things that didn’t go so well so you’ll improve the next time.

Once you’ve started, you can correct your course. Doing it little and often means that no one experience is catastrophic. You start of failing and learning, then you start to succeed and finally you are achieving at a high level.

Give yourself space to fail, and you’ll get to success far sooner.