Failures and breakthroughs – exposed, reflected, considered

How admitting a failure can lead to success

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Launched in the beginning of 2011 by Engineers Without Borders Canada, Toronto-based Admitting Failure is intended to be “a collaboration between like-minded NGOs, governments, donors and those in the private sector,” in the site’s own words.

Those involved with charitable development groups can visit the site to submit their own stories of plans gone wrong, or they can browse through the stories submitted by others, rating and commenting upon them along the way. Either way, failures are bound to be exposed and lessons learned.

But why admit to or even share with others a failure?

Failure and success are two sides of the same coin called life, be it a human life or that of an organization. Failure is as natural to humans as it is to organizations consisting of humans. Just like all humans are resistent to failing (and even more so to admitting it) so are human organizations.

Admiting failure enriches and brings one closer to success as formulating and clearly understanding a problem brings closer to its solution.

This is not just to make us feel self-satisfied or justified in front of our consciousness. It is as real as you’ll get. A recent article on HBR, for example, shows how Dominos Pizza – not just some small and insignificant company at that – after much public flogging, condemnation (lot of it online) had its CEO Patrick Doyle admit failure, and not just any failure, but the very essential point of having a rather inferior quality of pizza, on TV. This pain-point served it a good lesson, and Dominos quickly turned itself around and is again living its stellar time.

IBM did it back in 80s under Louis Gerstner Jr.

GE did it under Jack Welch in 90s..

Daimler and Ford did it in 70s and 80s…

A route to success, whether personal or in business, lies in admitting a problem, failure or pain-point.

Why not you or your company? Start anew by submitting your past failures, mistakes and pain-points.

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Written by Hayk

May 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

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