‘If you fail, try, try again.
Then bring in the stunt double.’
Arnold Schwarzenegger, quoted in Vanity Fair
You probably don’t think of yourself as a failure. But, you or so-called
‘leaders’ in your organization may fi nd it a useful label to hang on others.
Allocating blame when things go wrong is a long-standing convention for
maintaining the myth of leader infallibility. It poisons your culture, as those
below will follow the lead. Using the authority of position to cascade blame
becomes the norm.
The best leaders adopt a different perspective on failure, encouraging
a forgive and remember culture.
Firstly, you separate failure from the person – it’s an occurrence, not an inherent trait.
Secondly, you make it clear some failures are a desirable outcome of trying new things.
Thirdly, you set in place practices for limiting damage when failure occurs and for capturing
and sharing learning.
This last – sharing learning to prevent repetition of mistakes – is where most organizations still fail.