Are You Failing Enough?

I have a friend who up until recently was in management for a large Fortune 500 company—a company considered by many to be one of the best, most successful in the world. They dominate their market. In a conversation about the company he commented, “I’ve never seen a company fail as much as they do.”

What? “Fail?”

“They are always failing. But, you never hear about their failures because their successes are so great.”

He went on to say how the company is constantly trying new, inventive, different things. They are never—and he stressed NEVER—sitting still. If someone has an idea they will try it. If it doesn’t work, they scrap it and move on.

So, are you failing enough?

Are you constantly trying new, inventive ideas? Are you always looking for ways to grow your business, better serve your customers or bring new ideas or products to market? Are you innovating?

We’ve all been brought up to think of failure as a bad thing—we lost or we didn’t live up to expectations. I think we’d be much better off as individuals, companies, a nation and the world if we began to think of failure as simple hurdles to success.

If we aren’t failing, it simply means we aren’t trying. Or we aren’t trying enough NEW ideas.

Success seldom comes to those unwilling to change or grow or innovate. Success is reserved for the risk takers.

Success is reserved for those who have failed.

Here are two “bonus” tips on failing:

1) Test everything in a limited area or on a small sample size. Test, test and re-test. If it fails, don’t hang on to it. Move on.

2) Save “mementos” of every failure. Whether it is a small, physical scrap of the project, a report of how bad it was or a photograph of the test. Keep these as reminders of how you are innovating, moving forward and growing. They can be tremendous motivators.

Again, are you failing enough?