May 20, 2015 Leadership Insight

FAILING FORWARD

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Dear Leaders

As Asians, we have been drilled to succeed.  Failure has often been frowned upon, and seen as a weakness.  For some,it is not even an option.

However, as globalization is making the world smaller, and where core values crosses borders, we are in an age where the severity of failure is not deemed as serious, as say, as little as 20years ago…

In fact, the term “Failing Forward” where if and when we fail, we learn from those failures.  As leadership guru, Peter Drucker says, “The better a man is, the more mistakes he will make, for the more new things he will try.”

For myself, one of my required value in the workplace is to work with an organization that would permit me to make mistakes within a certain defined boundary.  An organization that would not penalize me if I had demonstrated the genuineness and sincerity in placing the well-being of the organization above my own interests.

The culture has to start from the Top Leadership and over time, the employees will grow to be more confident and would take significant ownership in executing their roles and responsibilities.

The assurance of a “Visionary and Forward Looking” Leader stem from the basic human understanding of “NO ONE IS PERFECT” and in Life, “Trials and Errors” mark the beginnings of great success, Progress, and Achievements.

I like how John Maxwell has written this article to not fear failure, but to learn to embrace the learnings we can gain from them:

HOW CAN WE BECOME SUCCESSFUL FAILURES?

1. OPTIMISM.  Find the good or positive aspect in every bad experience.  Thomas Edison termed the failures in his experiments as “10,000 ways that won’t work”

2. RESPONSIBILITY.  Change our response to failure by accepting responsibility.  It’s easy to blame when we fail.  But we also rob ourselves of the opportunity to learn from that lesson.

3. RESILIENCE.  Say Goodbye to yesterday.  The ability to move on and forward from a failure is the key factor that will enable us to continue trying new things.  Our minds can be our most powerful tool or worst enemy.  If we focus on what we did wrong, we cannot look beyond and see what we did right.

There are 5 behaviours of people who cannot overcome past mistakes:                  Comparison – measuring their failure against other , or that their circumstances were much harder.  Rationalization – convincing oneself the reasons for not overcoming failure are good, and those who try to encourage you “don’t understand.”  Isolation – isolating oneself to avoid reality, or for plain self-pity.  Regret; and Bitterness – always a victim, and never the victor.

4. INITIATIVE.  Take action and face your fear. It is normal to fear making mistakes, but we must not allow that fear to paralyse us.  Worrying will not help us to achieve our goals.  Corrie ten Boom sums it well when she said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.  It empties today of its strength.”

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