Sunday, August 09, 2015

How to Fail Smart (and learn from it)

Strategies for Learning from Failure by Amy C. Edmondson — HBS Working Knowledge

podcast: Fail, Quit, Lose: The Danger In Glorifying Failure | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

" places like Silicon Valley, failure is seen as good. It’s practically a fetish, where never failing suggests you’re not trying hard enough. And yet it seems only the winners preach that lesson. Are there times when giving up the dream makes the most sense?"

...When you quit in a rush, you didn't really let go the old, and you carry all old baggage, that dooms you for failure again, and prevents from learning from the experience. You have to quit in a certain way to manage your thoughts and emotions, allow to 'let go', and then figure out where do you go next. Only then quitting opens up a new path, and possibility for a lesson.

"In advance of any new opportunity or enterprise you have to ask yourself:
  1. Is the opportunity, upside, potentially significant here?
    If not, why bother wasting your time, and failing in it?
  2. Will the outcome of this action be informative?
    If the outcome is knowable in the advance, skip it.
    We should only have "new failures"
  3. Is the cost and scope relatively small?
    Don't bet the farm on something completely uncertain.
  4. Have you articulated key assumptions that will be tested?
    And will the plan test those assumptions.
...Before we have a failure, make sure it is "smart" one, 
one from which we could learn, we could either succeed or we could learn. 

If we go ahead and fail, we have very specific terrain to look our assumptions, 
and how we could have done differently. Then we are in the good position not to quit, but to "pivot", to try something different in direction what is articulated that might be significant opportunity. "

Losing Is Good for You - The New York Times
"...By age 4 or 5, children aren’t fooled by all the trophies. They are surprisingly accurate in identifying who excels and who struggles. Those who are outperformed know it and give up, while those who do well feel cheated when they aren’t recognized for their accomplishments. They, too, may give up.

It turns out that, once kids have some proficiency in a task, the excitement and uncertainty of real competition may become the activity’s very appeal.
If children know they will automatically get an award, what is the impetus for improvement?
Why bother learning problem-solving skills, when there are never obstacles to begin with?"

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