Let’s Agree to Fail Faster

February 12, 2019 Transformation Tuesday

“Success and failure are both greatly overrated, but failure gives you a whole lot more to talk about.” —Hildegard Knef

Most people agree there’s no simple, one-dimensional way to define “success” in business or life. Achieving success is even more mysterious to some than others. Is it a unique mindset? Is there a special formula? Is it just the result of “rolling up your sleeves?” and just doing hard work?

Frequently, success in sales is the result of an outcome. Regardless, of whether it is more art or science, collaborative sales success can be identified as the result of a shared approach, by a group of individuals, who follow a consistent, deliberate, shared process.

The phrase “fail fast,” is typically used within the dynamic space of startups and those who build and implement technology solutions using an Agile methodology. Which got us thinking, although it may feel counter-intuitive, how can business leaders learn to borrow knowledge gained from startups and digital technologists to transform, and get more comfortable with the idea of failure?

Failing fast allows for an iterative approach to problem solving. The team’s goal is to collaborate to achieve a desired result faster. They focus on the problem rather than perfecting the solution. Refocusing the team’s need to predict, control, and eliminate variances can inevitably be a game-changer in some situations.

Are you willing to try an open experiment in failing fast? This week, introduce “failing fast” as a concept and challenge your team to forgo being certain via a case study. Ask team members to collaborate, explore and share their understanding of how to become more adaptable in three broad areas of daily operations, such as:

  • People
  • Process
  • Technology

Today’s business environment is complex and changes rapidly. Controlling and minimizing variance seems sensible, however it can also be somewhat of a distraction to finding new approaches or changing mindsets to adapt and solve problems.

Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Drucker had a valid point. However, a solid strategy is strongest when it can be adapted. Knowing whether or not you are successful still requires a common definition and tracking performance outcomes. Why? If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Iteration instead of perfection presents more options and opportunities to grow. Ready to help your team move forward, together? Let’s set time to talk about how to make it happen.