Failure and Innovation

“You are a failure.” Don’t worry. I’ll explain what I mean.

I almost didn’t write those words. They seemed inappropriate. Why the aversion?

You might have hated reading them. It’s okay. I’m still struggling and I’m only in the third paragraph.

So why do we tend to avoid failure?

Where does this drive to escape pain come from?

If we are honest, none of us wants to hear the sentence, “You are a failure.”

The tendency of many leaders is to avoid failure to the point that they avoid innovation.

While reading Greg Atkinson’s book  Strange Leadership recently, I realized that I too can easily slip into self preservation. We get near pain and then jump away. But this book challenged me to consider Strange Leadership as a normal way to lead rather than something to avoid.

Strange Leadership

Consider these tips as you innovate and accept failure:

1) Take risks if you hope to innovate
Good luck innovating if you’re unwilling to take risks. To do something new, you must step into uncharted territory.

2) Celebrate failure, don’t punish it
This whole concept challenges most people. We want things to go well.

'If you punish failure, your team will avoid innovation.' - @BradBridges #Vision Click To Tweet

3) Create room in your schedule to create
If you spend all your time checking off tasks on the list, you are unlikely to innovate.

Give yourself 1 hour a week to think outside the box and try something new.

4) Delegate responsibility, not tasks
If you only delegate tasks, people will ever have freedom to innovate.

Try delegating an area of responsibility and let someone else create, oversee, and report on progress.

'If you only delegate tasks, people will ever have freedom to innovate.' - @BradBridges #Team Click To Tweet

5) Make yourself uncomfortable weekly
If you have created a comfortable and consistent job, you may need to get uncomfortable.

Step out of the ordinary. Take a look at things from a new perspective. Try something that you fear.

Regardless, remember this one statement.

You are not a failure if you fail, only if you fail to learn from you failures.

Challenge: Do something this week that you fear or something innovative to create new or better results. What is that one thing?