Celebrating Failure

You often hear this phrase when people talk about how to build better organizations, but something always bothered me about the phrase. Even though the intent is to turn the negative connotation of "failure" into a positive, it still pays homage to the dark side by keeping the term in the lexicon. How about honoring unexpected outcomes?

"Success" and "failure" have such strong connotations in our culture that trying to bend the meaning will not work. In organizations we talk about outcomes, and there are two flavors: expected and unexpected. We tend to celebrate the expected ones because it "means we were right" and we disregard the unexpected as "due to some unforeseen circumstance".

The idea behind celebrating failure is looking harder at the unexpected outcomes, because that is where we can learn the most, let’s just change the way we talk about it…

Honor your unexpected outcomes.


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