Unleashing the full capacity of your people

Celebrating Failure? You Bet! How Else Can You Learn New Stuff?

Do you embrace change? Do you seek new ways to get stuff done that shake up the status quo?

If so, you may be a precious asset for your organization, because a high comfort with change and disruption allows fresh ideas to blossom and get a chance to prove themselves.

Bob Killian Brand Guy

Bob Killian embraces change. How about you?

We found support for this idea in an odd place for us: An e-mail from a marketing agency called Killian Branding in Chicago.

“…a company in search of serious growth must risk the occasional screw-up along the way,” writes Bob Killian.

Amen to that! No one disputes that creative disruption is the key to long-term corporate survival. The products you sell today probably will not satisfy your customers tomorrow, because competitors keep innovating to steal them away. The mindset must be that customer satisfaction is what your organization sells, and you need to innovate new ways to meet that need to stay in business.

This same forward-thinking mindset works for careers, too. Your job is not to do what you were hired to do. That set of tasks may or may not remain relevant. Your mission is to help the organization meet its aspirations. How you do that will inevitably change, if you are will to experiment to see how to evolve your role productively.

Keeping this “I love change” mindset paramount is hard to do, especially in an organizational environment in which “change” could mean disruption to a settled existence (steady paycheck, predictable tasks and goals).

The best employees, however, see change as an opportunity rather than a threat, and find the seeds for future success in constructive failure. Here is how Bob sees it:

Don’t tolerate the stumbles – celebrate them! If you aren’t failing occasionally, you aren’t trying to improve yourself or your personal value proposition. Explaining your intentions to your boss might also get him or her jazzed about your efforts, too.

Failures are never an all-or-nothing zero-sum deal. There are always valuable lessons in failure. It is an integral part of the learning process. Sticking with what you know teaches you nothing!

Learning experiences bring real value to the creative process, the formation of strategy, the setting of goals. New ideas come out of experimentation. And if you make it a point to share your learnings, you compound your value to the organization.

Bob was prattling on about the creative process (and made some excellent points about how “experience” can be overrated), but his comments apply universally to how you approach your job, your career, your life.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”

― Thomas A. Edison

Go out and astound yourself this week! And let us know what most astounded you about what you accomplished.

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