23 dicembre 2014 § Lascia un commento
Tutti puntano alla perfezione, a fare tutto giusto al primo tentativo..solo coloro che imparando dai loro errori non mollano potranno avere successo.
Questo articolo vi aiuta a capire come comportarsi
Most of us would accept that failure is just an inevitable part of success. For instance, when you learn how to ski, you have to fall a number of times before you’re able to make it down the mountain skillfully. There are times, however, when failure is not a good thing, such as when you need to meet a customer deadline or achieve a competitive level of quality. Unfortunately, many managers don’t distinguish between when failure can be a valuable catalyst for learning and when it can be truly harmful, leaving employees unsure about when to take risks and experiment, and when to play it safe. For managers and employees, the key to getting this right is understanding whether the organization is in execution mode or innovation mode.
I was reminded of this difference while teaching in Silicon Valley last year. As everyone knows, the area between San Francisco and San Jose has thousands of start-up companies, as well as dozens of innovation “outposts” set up by established companies from around the world. In talking with the people who are involved with these innovation efforts, the striking thing is not their descriptions of success, but of the failures that helped them along the way. In Silicon Valley (and other hotbeds of innovation), failure is badge of honor and a pre-requisite for success—not something to be ashamed of. For these innovators, a successful company, and a successful career, requires a continuing series of rapid experiments, tests, hypotheses, and pivots—which means that nobody gets it right the first time (or the second or third). As a result, failure is highly valued.
In contrast, the established companies that I’ve spent most of my career working with are focused on executing what they already know how to do instead of innovating something new. And when failure occurs in the context of execution, it can harm results or reputation or create undue risk. So even when execution-focused executives say that it’s all right to fail, they usually don’t really mean it. As someone at the Federal Reserve (the quintessential execution organization) once told me, “Around here we want to make sure our people don’t make the same mistake once.”
The real challenge for leaders is not to either accept or reject failure, but rather to differentiate between whether they are in execution or innovation mode. Being in execution mode means that standard operating practices have been developed and need to be implemented with as little deviation as possible. Sure there can be improvements made, but these have to be done carefully and explicitly, under controlled conditions, so that the basic operations are not disrupted. As such, failure needs to be minimized or eliminated.
Innovation mode, on the other hand, is when standards still don’t exist and best practices are still being discovered and tested. In this kind of situation, it’s important to try out new ideas, formats, and processes – and allow room for plenty of failure – in order to learn what works and what does not. Once the focus becomes clear, managers can more easily communicate what the appropriate attitude toward failure should be.
The reason why many established firms struggle with innovation is that they bring the execution mentality with them, and then don’t encourage the failure necessary to develop new products, services, or processes. In a large financial services firm, for example, senior executives talked constantly about innovation but quashed proposals and projects that didn’t meet the margin thresholds of their established products within two months. By setting the financial bar so high, they ended up discouraging teams from doing prototypes and pilots because in reality nobody was allowed to really fail.
On the other hand, the reason why many start-ups hit a wall when they try to scale up is that they don’t know how to shift into execution mode where failure should be much less tolerated. For example, a small solar energy start up that that I worked with in the Bay area, after much trial and error, had produced a viable product and was starting to generate revenue. But instead of creating a disciplined process for sales and marketing, they allowed the manager (an early employee) to continually miss targets and encourage her sales people to “experiment” with different kinds of pitches and price points. By supporting this pattern of failure at an inappropriate time in the company’s evolution, the firm ended up with a major cash problem that prevented it from capitalizing on its product achievements.
So yes, failure is a key to learning, growing and figuring out what works. But before you either celebrate or punish failure, make sure you know what you are trying to achieve by doing so.
22 dicembre 2014 § Lascia un commento
di seguito un articolo, presa HBR, che rispecchia molto il mio modo di vivere e si pensare (al contrario);
spesso non si accettano gli errori, sopratutto quando si parla di noi stessi, ma si deve mettere in conto che può accadere, e che dagli stessi si può imparare molto
The value of failure has become a mantra in Silicon Valley, with the rise of events likeFailCon, a conference “for startup founders to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for success.” Failure, the thinking goes, is an intense form of hands-on education that — when done right — enables you to learn quickly and grow.
Despite the startup world’s enthusiasm, however, there’s often a lingering stigma: it’s less that you’ve tried and failed, and more that you are “a failure.” On a recent book tour supporting the French translation of my book, I met dozens of professionals who bemoaned what they viewed as their country’s particularly acute “one strike and you’re out” attitude toward failure. Of course, it’s not just in Europe; failure is still generally taboo almost everywhere in the world.
But the truth is that failure isn’t a rarity experienced by the unlucky few; if we’re honest, it’s a constant — albeit rarely lethal — state of affairs. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve already failed, or will soon (perhaps you launched a product that didn’t sell, were passed over for a promotion, flubbed a presentation, or any of a million other varieties). Here’s how to leverage that setback into even greater success.
Recognize that innovation requires failure. In a world where competitive advantage is increasingly short-lived, as Columbia Business School professor Rita Gunther McGrath has described, successful companies have to bake innovation into their standard processes. But innovation of any sort entails risk and trying new things — and that mandates failure. A 100% success rate implies you’re not doing anything new at all. The goal, says Eric Ries ofThe Lean Startup fame, is to create a minimum viable product that you’ll fully expect to iterate over time. In some ways, it’s a reframing: it’s not so much that you’re creating something (such as a product or service) that failed; it’s that you’re steadily improving a series of drafts.
Own your failure narrative. When I wrote an article a while back about someone involved in the U.S. financial markets and mentioned his indictment — and subsequent exoneration — during the crisis, I received an angry note from his wife: why did you have to include that? Of course, since he’d written about the experience in his own book (providing the most thoughtful and gripping part of the narrative), it hadn’t occurred to me they’d still be trying to keep it quiet. But habits, including the need to appear perfect, are hard to break.
That’s why talking about failure commands so much attention — it’s still shocking in a world that expects a triumphalist narrative. Blogger James Altucher has built a passionate following by writing in almost gory detail about his failures in business and life, including making millions and then losing it all, twice. In his book, The Education of a Value Investor, money manager Guy Spier tells his story of accepting a job soon out of business school at what turns out to be an ethically-challenged investment bank that soon goes down. Even though he didn’t participate in the malfeasance, he was humiliated by the stain on his resume, and grapples with his own naiveté. People might judge him and Altucher for their mistakes. But because they’re the ones telling the story, we’re able to see the world through their eyes, and grasp the full force of their redemption. (Altucher is now more successful than ever as a writer, and since 1997, Spier has run his own investment fund based on cautious, Warren Buffett-inspired principles.)
Understand that failure is an ongoing process. It’s important to recognize that failure is not a “one and done” phenomenon, where you climb the mountain and stay on top. Rather, it’s an ongoing process. On the same day this spring, I was turned down for two different fellowships I had applied for. That doesn’t mean I’m not successful; by other metrics — writing books, speaking, consulting, and teaching for business schools — I’m doing fine. But stretch goals are just that: things outside your wheelhouse that may work out, or not. The goal, as research shows, should be to make “new and different mistakes.” And if we want to make it safer for others to try, we have to be willing to talk about failure in the present tense — not just something that happened to us once, long ago.
We all love irresistible, come-from-behind success stories about “failed” entrepreneurs likeKevin Systrom, who folded his unsuccessful check-in app Burbn and pivoted it into the billion-dollar Instagram, or Ben Silbermann of Pinterest, which began life as a struggling mobile shopping site called Tote. Failure makes success possible, but not because of the eventual possibility for lucrative exits. Rather, failure opens the dialogue to show that we don’t have to be perfect; in fact, we can’t be. We need to speak honestly and openly — to let ourselves be known, so that failure and mistakes are put in their proper context. We can’t be afraid to acknowledge that, if we’re growing, failure isn’t an anomaly. It happens every day.