Executive Coaching

Grant People the Freedom to Fail

  • 1.  Grant People the Freedom to Fail

    Posted 03-14-2021 03:00 PM

    Grant People the Freedom to Fail

    Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison made a great point in his most recent newsletter on why intentionally granting people the freedom to fail is so important to helping people keep thinking and moving forward as we move through Covid. Here's what he said:

    "Failing to fail. It's a question I hear in almost every conversation with executives these days: How can we ask people to do one … more … thing-to help them feel motivated and empowered? My answer, surprisingly perhaps, starts with failure. A year ago, companies everywhere took any and all actions-unconcerned about the prospect of failure because everything around us was failing. There was freedom to act without fear. Now, moving forward, if people are afraid to fail-if there are punishments or if rewards are withheld because of failure-then people won't feel empowered to take chances. And without those risks, there will be no innovation. As we push the restart button, the only real failure will be failing to fail. When people know it's safe to fail, learning happens."

    In other words, we just spent a year on a wartime footing. Perfection, looking good politically, choosing to look good rather than be good - we didn't do these things in 2020 because we were focused on surviving. Now, as the hope for normality seems more realistic, one sure way to lose the innovative and engaged approach of 2020 is to start playing not to lose. To the extent you are willing to accept failure on the way to success this year, and are willing to let your people know you feel this way, you are helping them to maintain the aggressive edge that some of them gained in this crisis.

    Eric

    AchieveNEXT



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    Eric Herrenkohl
    Managing Director and Executive Coach
    AchieveNEXT
    Wayne, PA
    610-742-8196
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