Innovating Through Failure

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So, did you have a chance to think about your philosophy or failure?

If not, check out our post from last week to get you started!

Let’s jump back in!

To innovate, you must learn to fail well

How are innovators treated on your team?

How is failure treated on your team?

If your thinking is big enough, no failure should be total. You always learn something from it – whether it’s how to not do something, or maybe it’s extracting one piece of the project that did work, that was ingenious, and that can be salvaged for the next idea.

Don’t stigmatize the team that failed. The next innovators will be watching to see how the first team was treated.

Don’t get us wrong, failure is not the objective. Failure should not be celebrated – innovation and daring should be though; and often, the two come hand-in-hand.

Think about how you encourage or discourage innovation within your team.

Are you celebrating daring-ness on your team? Or are you the runner or the steam engine?

Do you stop and think about how your actions impact those around you and how you can improve?

Or do you blaze ahead – blindly and without thought or care for who and what is tossed in your wake?

This week, make a conscious decision to create something – to risk innovation. Because even if you fail, you will do so while daring greatly.

And — you just might succeed!

To fail is not really to fail – you’re merely collecting data points.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

 

First Block Quote from:  How Google Works. Schmidt, Eric and Jonathan Rosenberg. Grand Central Publishing, New York, New York. 2014.
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Reinventing Failure

Reinventing Failure

In 1919, a young twenty-year-old was fired from one of his first animation jobs at the local newspaper. As rumor has it, his employer cited his “uncanny lack of imagination and creativity” as the cause for his termination. This wasn’t the last of his failures – a few years later he started his own animation company that he eventually drove to bankruptcy.

Out of these failed attempts to create something meaningful (and many more that we’re not listing), grew an idea and a dream. This same man later founded one of the greatest innovations in entertainment and hospitality that the world has ever known.

The Walt Disney Company.

Disney has been sharing Walt’s ideas, his creativity, and his passion with the hearts of people all over the world for the last 90 years.

How we fail is important.

What is your philosophy of failure? How do you innovate?

In our experience, most people do one of two things:

  1. The first person runs as fast as they can from every opportunity that could implode to escape from the feared collateral damage of failure. Their self-worth and value as a person and employee is so intricately intertwined in the success of what they do, that they are terrified to fail – so they never innovate. They never challenge.They never grow.
  2. The second type of person charges forward in most every situation. Like an out-of-control train, they never looking back and never realizing the impact of their actions, the people and things they harm, or asking questions about why this or that failed. They skip the step where they ask themselves “how and why did this happen?” or “what can I do differently next time?”

There is, however, a third type of person. A person who innovates – who has a strong philosophy of failure, and who daringly defies the status quo -all the while, learning, asking questions, being sensitive to their failures, but not letting the failures define their success. 

In 2009, Google launched Wave, a technological marvel that seamlessly integrated emails, messaging, social networking, and online collaboration for it’s users.

It was genius.

It was also a complete and total disaster.

By 2010, Google announced that it would be sunsetting the program, and discontinuing all future development.

By 2011, it was, for all intents and purpose, dead. The program never hit the mainstream, it never collected a critical mass of users, and it fizzled out almost as quickly as it was developed. The media lambasted the project, calling Wave an “overhyped bust and a tremendous failure.” And they were right – Wave was a flop.

However, the 60 person team at Google that worked on the project was praised internally. Each of them was highly sought-after for other high-profile, internal projects.

No one lost their jobs.

None of them achieved the creation of something that was successful, but each of them did push the boundaries of innovation. They created something new and different. They dared to think outside of the norm, and made something really special and unique.

Curious about what comes next? Us too!

This week take some time to think about your philosophy of failure and next week we’ll keep talking about how to reinvent your failure.

Social Media, Switching Jobs, and Your Team?

MillimilasAs your company continues to grow and hire new staff, you recognize a trend: your company is getting younger. More and more of the staff you walk by in the hallways (of course sending a slight smile their way because you don’t want to be that guy) seem to be millennials, and a lot of them are now on your team.

And they give you a run for your money! Calling online conversations being “social”, shopping more online than in stores, feeling like they should always be considered for the next promotion, and if they aren’t moving up the ladder quickly enough – switching jobs to get to the job title/pay they are looking for (all before age 30!).

Millennials are the future of your organization, but sometimes it feels like you’re at a loss on how to connect with them at a base level.

If this is you, listen up! We have Coach Mary Murphy joining us to bring a little more insight into how to connect with (and motivate!) a younger generation.

Take it away Mary!

Mary jpeg“One key tip that millennial team members tell me that motivates them is – ‘Ask us what we need to perform at our best and then engage us in making this happen.’  What they say frustrates and de-motivates them is when they are asked for their input by the team leader or their manager and then there is no follow-up!

 From an article in the Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) entitled “Five Things I Learned from Millennials, the author Nicole Gallucci shares and expands upon top recommendations:

  1. When in doubt, Google it
  2. Seize the moment 
  3. There’s no excuse for not connecting
  4. Call it as you see it
  5. Do what you love or don’t complain

I love tip number #1 and often recommend it to the individuals I coach.  For example, when I hear, “I want to increase my executive presence”, I ask the individual what skills they would need to develop in order to achieve this goal.  Often the coachee is unsure of what executive presence really means or looks like for them.  So, we check Google to learn more about the behaviors and skills which help to successfully demonstrate executive presence.”

Thanks for the tip, Mary!

Try out some of these tips for connecting with millennials and let us know how it goes!

PS. We’ve got some millennials too, so we’ll let you know how these tips work for us!  🙂

Strategy – Where Do I Begin?

So, now that you have freed up some of your time you can focus a little more on strategy.

Yes!! … Or yikes?

The word strategy can be a little intimidating. You know you want your team to be working together better, developing new ideas, or hitting new sales goals – but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

Larry Page, the CEO and cofounder of Google, has revolutionized the industry (and really the world) by using a strategy called 10X thinking.

10X thinking works like this…

Most companies, leaders, and managers look at their current situation and strategize how to grow whatever they are doing by 10%.

For example, if we want our team to work together better we may look at how to improve collaboration. To improve collaboration by 10% we would probably schedule one additional brainstorming meeting a week.

But in 10X thinking, we would strategize how to have our team improve collaboration by 10 times – or over 100%.

Using this method, to improve collaboration would be to totally restructure how the team works, where they are seated, how they present ideas, and how they execute work.

10X thinking completely changes the perspective in solving a problem or growing a team because it looks at revolutionizing the entire process vs. trying to improve one aspect and being less likely to think innovatively and outside the box.

This week, choose one aspect of your team or management life where you would like to become 10X more effective!