You’ve probably heard the popular entrepreneurial mantra: “Embrace failure.” It’s shorthand for saying that taking big swings and missing is better than never taking any risks at all.
Depending on the context, that can be sound advice. Of course, it’s missing two key elements. First, you have to learn from your mistakes, and move forward without repeating them. And second, the mantra needs to apply to your whole team, not just you. If your leadership leaves employees afraid of failing, they won’t perform at their best--and your company will struggle.
For a great example, look at Volkswagen’s 2017 diesel engine debacle. According to some company executives, former CEO Martin Winterkorn was a demanding and authoritarian boss who abhorred failure and fostered a culture of fear. So when the company’s newly developed diesel engine didn’t meet the goals Winterkorn had publicly imposed, engineers covered up the problem instead of telling their bosses about it. When the engine hit the market, the company incurred billions of dollars in losses and damage to the brand.
In these uncertain times, your employees are probably more afraid than ever to make mistakes. Check out this excerpt from Inc.com columnist Robert Glazer’s new book Friday Forward to learn how to give your team the freedom to fail without risking your company’s future.
Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce