Celebrate failure the PDCA way!


HR have a bigger responsibility of creating avenues or environments for employees to fail freely as the Gen Y—the highly tech savvy and feedback-oriented generation— is at work. 


As soon as you say ‘Failure is not an Option’, you have just said ‘’Innovation is not an option’—Seth Godin.

News of layoffs in the IT industry or related industries, prompted me to think of those who would be going through a tough time and badly need some morale boosting.

Is this the right time to say “Celebrate your failure?”

I would say ‘Yes’, especially for those who have been in the same industry for many years; a ‘yes’ to those who always wanted to take a break, and also to those who always wished to start their own setup, but have lacked the courage to do so!

Edison failed a 1000 times and celebrated each failure saying “I know one more way that a bulb cannot be made”. Examples of failures are plenty and the success stories post these failures are known to all of us today, such as Henry Ford, Walt Disney and Steve jobs. Fail many times before you say “This is enough”

Why not celebrate your failure and look at it like an opportunity? Consider it an opportunity knocking at your door and telling you to unlearn all that you have learnt in the last so many years and learn something new!

What is meant by ‘Celebrating Failure’? It simply means accepting the failure and trying to find out what is positive in it.

What is more, celebration of failure is also supported by our Government. Yes, this is the right time to start your own company (start-up) and come up with a new idea. If not for yourself, do it for someone else who has the funds or is simply trying to connect the two dots of desire and innovation. Start-up stories exist all over the Internet, of people who dared to fail or dared to take risks and dared to celebrate the unknown.

This is the era of Solopreneurs! The time is especially right for women to test the waters. Twitter is buzzing around with hash tags on Solopreneurs, for one to read and not feel the stress of trying to succeed.

A friend mentioned to me that when she took a break in her career due to a setback, she started an innovative business by not spending a single penny out of her pocket. Without mentioning the great idea of hers, I want to say that she celebrated failure with her innovation, which she would have never explored while busy with a full-time job.

We human beings perform our best in the face of deadlines or under pressure and our talents come out in adverse situations. Although India lost the T20 world cup, it performed its best against Australia in the last four overs, when the failure was evident.

The trick is to give yourself a stiff target to win or to try to fail, and in the whole process do something which you have never done before.

Even the HR of the companies now have the bigger responsibility of creating avenues or environments for employees to fail freely as the Gen Y—the highly tech savvy and feedback-oriented generation— is at work. The HR strive to bring out the full potential of the employees by giving them extra hours of failure in the area of their choice, during the regular work hours.

Therefore, step one is to phase away ‘forced ranking’ and introduce developmental feedback by many giants in the industry, or come up with fail hours to test oneself.

However, in all this, ‘branding’ deserves attention. Another way to celebrate failure is to re-brand oneself. If you have been a shy individual, now is the time to be aggressive. If you have connected within your network alone, now is the time to explore all the opportunities outside your comfort zone and make new connections. Go ahead and choose the colour of your brand. Try your personal logo, put it on your visual resume and do something colourful!

So, is there a model for celebrating failure? My preferred personal model is PDCA which involves telling oneself that a ‘P’ersonal setback has happened; that it is time to ‘D’ream something new, explore the ‘C’urrent situation and ‘A’nnounce to oneself that… buddy, it is going to be a bumpy ride, let’s prepare for something new in life. Move on! And celebrate this opportunity called failure.

(The author is director-HR at Smartek).

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