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Think Big, Take Risks, And Learn From Failures

3289 words - 14 pages

In 1943, the first computer was developed. From a building-size calculation machine, to a room-size computer, desktop, laptop, palm, and computer programming systems integrated into a mobile phone, many trials and errors have been gone through in this development process. Not only the development of information technology is surprising everyone, but the rapidly increasing innovation rate does too. Since long time ago, Bill Gates has known that innovation is a continuous process. He says that there is always something new coming out every 18 months (Fried 1). The innovation process is not simple, and repeated failures are inevitable comes. A leading speaker in innovation industry, Paul ...view middle of the document...

No matter what the reason is, it is natural to be blind to failures. When employees make a mistake, they may deny their contributions, distort what has happened, ignore the facts, and even cover it up. It is a desire to maintain a high self-esteem, to believe that they have the control over their personal and organizational outcomes (Cannon and Edmonson 4-5). Although this "positive illusion" gives one power to take on challenges, it also prevents humans to be honest to their failures.Failing to acknowledge mistakes is a dramatic hindrance making improvements, and it may lead to a company being superseded from its business environment. A company which only values success is unable to be innovative and to adjust itself in quickly changing business world. There is a saying that, "If you haven't failed, you're not trying hard enough" (Farson and Keyes 27). It is because new ideas would be suppressed when employees are protecting themselves from punishment or being laid off. Avoiding errors and mistakes is no longer considering as effective performance. Gustave Manso, who is a finance professor in MIT's Sloan School of Management, advices companies to value failure experiences. He says, "To induce employees to explore new ideas, you have to tolerate early failure and reward long-term success" (qtd. in Weisman 1). Even though it is hard to believe, it is impossible to succeed unless one fails first.To fail and learn from mistakes is a process that is critical in innovation. In Silicon Valley, learning from failed experiences is considered a "step on the road to success" (qtd. in Farson and Keyes 27). The step has three critical procedures, including identifying, analyzing, and experiencing deliberated failures.Acknowledgment of the failing experiences is the first procedure in the learning process. If one is incapable to identify failures, it can be disastrous to an organization. Expectedly, human beings use to suppress the awareness of failing processes. Big mistakes are difficult to be covered up, but small ones are easy to be ignored. Unfortunately, small daily mistakes are usually early warning signs to conceptual operational errors. Small problems will become more and more serious if they are not solved. They can grow like rolling snow balls, causing landslide-effect to a firm. Cannon and Edmonson think that "the tendency to ignore failure can allow failures to be repeated, developing a smaller failure into a bigger one" (6). Learning to accept failures by overriding psychological barriers is essential. A reluctance to identify mistake is worse than repeating the same one. While the latter one indicates that no progress is making, the former one is making a problem worst. Managers should change their mindset about failures, and at the same time, encourage employees to take risks and try errors.To encourage recognition of failures, setting "no" goals and celebrating failures can help. Everyone sets success goals, but it is hardly find someone...

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