Strategies to Learn from Failure
Failure is a term we are quick to apply when things don’t end the way we planned. We have all failed to win at a game. Bruised a knee. Put together failed expansion efforts, introduced new products, and run A/B test and neither worked. These are failures.
The problem with failure, other than its painful, comes when we stop the process of discovery at these first feelings of failure. When we embrace failure as a final state of things, we stop progress in its tracks.
So, how to approach “Failure”? Here are a three quick approaches to failure to use:
I use my inadequate understanding of Friedrich Hegel’s famous dialectic model. Think about it this way: You have a belief or idea (he calls this a “thesis”) and you put it out into the world where it runs into reality and fails in some way (he calls this “antithesis”).
The magic is that if you allow that reality changes your original idea, then you must move on to a new, better informed idea. This becomes your new “thesis”. Try it. It has the power to keep your head in the game as you work through challenges.
2. Try "Informed Insanity":
We have all heard the phrase that, “The definition of insanity is trying the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.” I don’t have a problem with that, but often it’s impossible to do exactly the same thing. You have learned lessons, you have better trained your staff, your systems issue you deatlt with last time has been resolved.
You may also know that what you are trying is working for others in your market. Use some informed insanity and keep trying new things that leverage your experience.
3. Play it Smart:
Sometimes just ignore the person who regularly says “We’ve already tried that.” Your breakthrough thinking can come from your very own failures and experiences. Debrief on failures, own the lessons learned, and move forward. That's playing it smart.
“The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.” - Grace Hopper