Why leadership should encourage failures within organisations

0
209

Failure is not the opposite of success, but a part of it. 

Failure is not a word that oozes positivity, but it is certainly a precursor to something big.

Charlie Chaplin, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Socrates, Michael Jordon— history is full of people who failed at one point of time, but still managed to do brilliant things. For example, when Bill Gates launched Traf-O-Data, the product was full of bugs. In fact, Elon Musk’s Pay Pal was once voted to be the worst product idea, but look where Musk and Gates are right now!

This is why, it is important for organisations and the leadership to encourage failures.

Says Ravi Mishra, senior vice president – HR and admin, Birla Carbon, “If you look at any child in the age group of six months to one year, before they actually start walking, you will see that they fall down umpteen times. So, failure is the basic fundamental of our lives. Organisations that accept it with open arms are most successful.”

All companies, that have innovation in their DNA, promote and celebrate failures at the developmental stage. There is a learning from each failure and that translates into a better product. Businesses, which aim to do ground breaking things, allow their people to make mistakes and fail, but never give up. Experiments need courage, and failure or success is just a by-product.

80 per cent of the success stories, in terms of products and innovations, come after the acceptance of the failure. Faraday discovered electricity after many failures. Apple and IBM are also classic examples of changing failure into success.

“In fact, even in my office, there have been incidences when I’ve seen people fail, but I let them go about it. Because there is no better teacher than failure and it only helped them improve,” shares Mishra.

“Failures need to be allowed as they give you a huge amount of insights into a particular project or assignment. One needs to learn from these mistakes or failures and build your strategy to allow you to succeed as you go forward. Unless you fail you will neither innovate nor work on alternative plans,” says Alok Nigam, senior vice president and Group CHRO, ?Bhartiya Group.

Alok Nigam

Failures need to be allowed as they give you a huge amount of insights into a particular project or assignment. One needs to learn from these mistakes or failures and build your strategy to allow you to succeed as you go forward. Unless you fail you will neither innovate nor work on alternative plans.

The new generation at the workplace has also forced organisations to change their mindset towards failures. This feedback-oriented generation demands an environment and avenues to fail freely. 

When the senior management gives liberty to the youngsters, who are always brimming with ideas, it leads to innovation. Failure is basically allowing people to experiment. “Unless you chart the unknown territory, how will you know what you can do?” opines Praveer Priyadarshi, chief people officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Priyadarshi adds that failures should not be looked down upon as setbacks, but as entrepreneurial spirit. “We promote an entrepreneurial mindset and encourage our employees to constantly push the boundaries with a “Can Do” attitude. For us every setback is a learning opportunity which helps in recalibrating the way we think, plan and act in delivering Best in class media and entertainment solutions to our consumers.”

Success is not the first step, but the end of the long road, where you will face lots of failures. Failure should be seen as an opportunity, and then the results will also be much more reliable. Success takes time. 

Praveer Priyadarshi

Failures should not be looked down upon as setbacks, but as entrepreneurial spirit. Most of the startups today are not successful the moment they are launched. They take time. It is the organisation’s appetite to support and encourage failure that leads to innovation.

When the senior management gives liberty to the youngsters, who are always brimming with ideas, it leads to innovation. Failure is basically allowing people to experiment. “Unless you chart the unknown territory, how will you know what you can do?” opines Praveer Priyadarshi, chief people officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Priyadarshi adds that failures should not be looked down upon as setbacks, but as entrepreneurial spirit. “We promote an entrepreneurial mindset and encourage our employees to constantly push the boundaries with a “Can Do” attitude. For us every setback is a learning opportunity which helps in recalibrating the way we think, plan and act in delivering Best in class media and entertainment solutions to our consumers,” he says.

Success is not the first step, but the end of the long road, where you will face lots of failures. Failure should be seen as an opportunity, and then the results will also be much more reliable. Success takes time.

“Most of the startups today are not successful the moment they are launched. They take time. It is the organisation’s appetite to support and encourage failure that leads to innovation,” affirms Priyadarshi.

Failure is actually the cost one pays to be right. No one ever hits the bull’s eye at first go.

If an organisation is yearning for something new, it has to give its employees the freedom to make those mistakes that would eventually lead to the right thing.

Ravi Mishra

If you look at any child in the age group of six months to one year, before they actually start walking, you will see that they fall down umpteen times. So, failure is the basic fundamental of our lives. Organisations that accept it with open arms are most successful. 

If we look at Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the reusable rockets have failed more than they have succeeded, but they are still touted as the next best thing in the field of space technology. If Musk would have abandoned it all, when the rocket first crashed, SpaceX would have just ended up in some textbook.

Experts believe that failure adds to the learning curve. “It’s the most basic outcome of failure—you learn. After an employee has failed, he is a better person than he was before he tried. Before he can find that one step to do the thing right, he has to go through 100 steps of failure. But every failure will make him a better person,” says a senior HR practitioner.

“Any intellectual failure can be tolerated as long as there is learning, followed by multiple benefits in the long run. Success can foster decreased search and attention, increased complacency, risk aversion and maladaptive homogeneity. A modest level of failure can promote the willingness to take risks and foster resilience, enhancing experimentation benefits that complement the liabilities of success,” says Alok Mishra, senior hr practitioner.

Sushma Sahai, HR Head of Baggit feels that providing opportunities to experiment is the need of the hour. “Yes, it is a good idea to devote some part of your time and budget to experimentation without the fear of repercussion. This encourages team members to try new ideas. Sometimes, it leads to better things and better understanding.”

There are times when people do not know how to approach a problem, but if they try and fail, they will at least know if the idea or method was going to work or not. Failure provides answers.

CEO and co-founder of Madison Reed, Amy Errett once said, “Perfection is the enemy of growth. De-emphasising perfection will encourage your employees to work hard, and grow loyal to your company.”

Failures make employees confident. Research has shown that people at a company that encourages them to experiment will always be happier and more productive than their counterparts in a company that restricts them from faltering. Rewarding the calculated risks leads to an interesting and exciting workplace culture.

Comment on the Article

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here