“I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” – Thomas Edison
Much can be said for the tenacity of Mr. Edison. To try at something 10,000 times is much more than the majority of us would ever attempt, but in this quote, we learn our first lesson about failure and how to learn from it (and we’ve included four more just for fun):
- Shifting the perspective; Failure is not inherently bad. – How we choose to approach our failures or our perceived failures, impacts how well we can learn from them. Approaching the process with openness, curiosity, and acceptance will have a more positive result than believing we ARE our failures.
- Embrace Humility – Humility is defined as “freedom from pride or arrogance” which means that when a failure happens to us, the resulting feelings surrounding it can leave us feeling deflated. That’s ok. Embracing humility allows us to be moldable so we can approach the task with a fresh perspective next time.
- Model a Culture of Learning – Leaders need to set the example for their team when it comes to creating a safe environment for failure and learning from it. This starts with not resorting to blame but rather seeking to understand, clearly communicate, analyze, and find opportunities for new approaches going forward.
- Get to the Bottom – When a failure occurs, it can be easy to look at the situation in a superficial manner and attempt a band-aid solution. What’s important though, is to dig deep and get to the root of the issue that caused the failure and address it instead. This is important even if it’s not the easy thing to do!
- Filter your Ideas – No one has good ideas 100% of the time. Getting in the habit of writing down, or keeping track digitally, of your ideas can help you to visually assess them before taking action. Bad ideas often lead to good ones. If the idea continues to resurface, then take a deeper look at it and see if it’s worth pursuing. Clearly, Thomas Edison’s idea was worth pursuing, he just needed time and opportunity to keep going.
Remember, failure isn’t failure unless you fail to learn from it. Our goal at Akramoff is to help you, as a leader, build an organizational culture that supports learning, growth, wellbeing, and human-centered productivity.
This goal involves being able to learn from our failures, take in that information, and apply it positively as we move forward together.