“I haven’t failed; I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” — [Thomas Edison]
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” — [Sir Winston Churchill]
“Fear of failure is the only thing preventing you from succeeding.” — [Alison Levine]
“100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.” — [Wayne Gretzky]
Today I would like to talk about the importance of failure in ensuring an organization’s long-term success. Yes, failure! I’m guessing you didn’t expect leadership to talk about the importance of failure as part of a weekly Leadership Quote segment. But the truth is failure is a necessary component of success. Through failure we learn important lessons necessary to achieve success. We gain the wisdom needed to improve and become successful.
I’m sure most of you have heard of the vacuum cleaner brand Dyson. The Dyson vacuum cleaner is one of the best performing products in its industry. Why? Because of the revolutionary way in which it works. Instead of using vacuum cleaner bags, it uses a vortex process that “spins” the dirt through the machine, allowing the air to circulate through while dropping the dirt down into the catch basin. As a result, the product works far more efficiently than any other in the market because it doesn’t lose suction or get clogged up. But did you know that Sir James Dyson, the inventor and founder of the Dyson vacuum cleaner company, tried unsuccessfully 5,127 times before he succeeded. HE FAILED 5,127 TIMES!!!
Now, before you run off and say “well, Kip told me to go fail”, let me clarify my point. Many businesses today don’t have the luxury for everyone to go off and fail 5,127 times. But what they should have is a culture that is willing to recognize its failures and improve on them. One that says, “Nope, that didn’t work. Let’s try something different.” One that recognizes our failures are its best opportunities for succeeding.
Does your culture embrace failure as a necessary step towards success? Are your fellow team members encouraged to innovate, to take risks, and do drive for new and creative solutions to meet your customer’s needs? More importantly, do they operate in an environment suited to support failure as a necessary evolution toward success?