Is it OK to fail?
Wise men will tell you that it is OK to fail. That you will learn a lot from failure. That you can grow from failure.
Realists will tell you that failure will cost you, sometimes dearly.
Everyone will tell you that failure is inevitable.
They all are. So, what do you do about it? Embrace the fact that failure is inevitable by preparing for it. Understanding that failure usually happens when you are trying new things, pushing the envelope, stretching your wings, you can decide when its appropriate to try something new, and when its time to stick with what you know. A rush deadline is a horrible time to experiment, because if you fail and have no time to recover, you fail utterly, cost yourself and your client, and run the risk of being branded someone who can’t deliver.
When you have 6 months to complete a 4 month project on the other hand, you can easily use that time to push in a new direction, working to deliver something new and unique, and possibly to gain notoriety and fame. And if you fail, you’ve still learned some valuable lessons and still have 2 months to either keep toying with it, or fall back on what you know.
The hardest part may be learning to make the mental leap that its actually OK for you and your people to fail when trying something new. Penalizing your people, or beating yourself up, because something didn’t work is not only non-productive, it is downright debilitating. It builds a culture of non-growth through the promotion of a ‘cover my OWN butt’ mentality. When people are scared to fail, they fall back on what they know they can deliver.
Failing WITHOUT room for recovery can destroy your reputation, lose you your clients, and perhaps destroy your business.
Failing WITH room for recovery can build your reputation, win you new clients and grow your business.