New Harvard Business Review Article Looks At How Winners Learn From Losing
The Harvard Business Review is a fantastic periodical. This new article explores how great companies encourage risk-taking and learn from failure. As someone who has worked with many global beverages, I know how to spot a winning organization. For starters, at the very top, they encourage strategically aligned and intelligent risk-taking. It is not enough to talk about embracing failure. When the chips are down and the public, media, and shareholders are being most critical is exactly when you need to show real leadership at the highest levels. Share or give credit but take the blame.
Great Companies and Great Leaders Are Known For Success But Get Great Because They Are Not Afraid To Fail
One must set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (“BHAG”) if you want to succeed in a big way. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said…“ that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to earth”. Unfortunately, when President Kennedy made that statement, the technology did not exist to successfully launch and bring back a spaceship. The President set the BHAG and others overachieved, solved the necessary problems, and successfully completed the President’s mission.
In the early 1970’s “Made in Japan” was almost synonymous with “poor, cheap quality that will break quickly”. Sony set a goal, “to become the company best known for changing the image of ‘Made in Japan’ and Japanese consumer products as being poor quality”. That was a huge goal. But instead of worrying about failure, Sony successfully set out to change the image of an entire country.
Failure is a great teacher. But you have to be eager to listen to her. Too often, people want to forget about failures. But what better time to explorer and post-mortem an initiative than when something has gone wrong? If you think the cost of the failure was high, think about the cost of failing to take a chance next time or making the same mistake again. The reason to look back is so you can plan and execute better in the future. Always get people to look forward to leveraging the valuable lessons for new efforts.
Thanks for reading and drop me a not and share your best ‘learning from failure’ experience
Best wishes, William Sipper