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success and failure in the workplace
03/10/2019

The positive face of failure in the workplace

How mistakes and failures at work boost creativity and are the key to a successful career and company culture.

Perhaps you already knew this, but it never hurts to be reminded from time to time: perfection does not exist. No. Not in language. Not in sport. Not even in machines. Perfection, especially at work, is limiting, very unproductive and incredibly frustrating. On top of this, and contrary to what you’ve been told: your mistakes could change the world. At least, that’s what the creative Erik Kessels affirms in one of the chapters of his book “Fail It” (you can check out one of his talks about it here). Incorporating this statement as a vital work philosophy can be somewhat challenging in western culture, where we grow up running away from getting things wrong because we’ve been taught that WRONG IS BAD. But making mistakes can have successful results, especially at work, where failure is the key to success.

 

Mistakes and failures at work are essential for growing and learning, and for a successful career! 

 

Since we live in a world of chance, errors will always come up, so we’d better start learning to deal with them. In addition (and even if it seems untrue), in order to reduce the number of errors at work, you have to be wrong. Only in this way are failures detected in procedures and methods. As such, we need to understand that errors are not only an unavoidable part of any process, but also essential to learn, grow and innovate. Unsuccessful, fruitless and ineffective situations are not a failure, but practically the only ones that lead to success. You only have to take a look at the great ideas that have occurred by mistake or accident such as post-it notes, crisps, penicillin or even the current theory about black holes by Stephen Hawking, which the cosmologist only arrived at by accepting he had been wrong beforehand. So, losing the fear of making mistakes, especially at work, is extremely important for the growth of your professional career. You could even put “dare to fail” on your CV as one of your core values!

 

Companies that encourage failure are closer to becoming more creative and innovative! 

 

You already know what they say: “trial and error”, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, and so on. These idioms didn’t come free, but were created by confirming – with experience – that in order to progress you have to dare to fail. Those companies that work in a corporate culture, which embrace error and encourage their workers to take risks in order to grow and innovate are the most successful companies. Certainly, there are mistakes that can have fatal consequences for the reputation and economy of a company…or even for the environment! However, through trial and error, methods and procedures will be created which will increasingly help reduce errors. Some of the skills necessary to create these processes are effective communication and proactivity.

 

Well, we hope this article has helped you understand that mistakes are a natural part of life, and therefore also of work dynamics. So, rather than avoid them, we need them in order to learn! Remember: failures are the key to your success at work! If you want to share any of your failed experiences that have helped you grow and improve, let us know in the comments. We will learn from everyone’s mistakes!

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