Companies Must Inculcate Smart Failure Culture | SupportBiz

Human Resources

Companies Must Inculcate Smart Failure Culture

Organizations must tell people know that it is OK to fail, but it unacceptable to be not creative

Builidng a successful business is heavily dependent on making the right decisions at the right time. Whether the decisions are good or bad is generally decided by the outcome. But it is not necessary that every wrong decision has to lead to a failure.

It is about how organizations teach employees to deal with failures, because a failure can be smart too. At times, smart failures can end up in thoughtful sessions that would result in a creative project leading to a successful business model.

Hence it is significant that an organization inculcates the culture of innovation and creativity, and lets people know that it is OK to fail, but it is unacceptable to be not creative. 

There is a need for organizations to develop a model to groom employees to experiment and explore without much thinking about failing.

In a Harvard Business Review blog post, Doug Sundheim highlights the role of failure in innovation.

He has the following two points

  1. Defining a smart failure.

Everyone in the organization will know their success metrics, but they are totally clueless about the failure metrics. Doug insists on defining smart failure. What makes a failure smart in our organization? What makes a failure dumb? Specifically, what guidelines, approaches, or processes characterize smart risk taking? What clear examples can we point to, to demonstrate smart failures? You want people to clearly understand the right and wrong way to fail.

2. Reward smart failure

Rewarding sends a powerful message about what sort of behavior is encouraged in your organization. An example is Indian conglomerate Tata’s Innovista program in which they award the best innovations of the year and the best attempts.