Sue was contemplating that it took her a long time to learn to fail; to have the confidence and belief to experiment, fail, and experiment again.
Whether it’s at work or at home, problems and issues sometimes arise. I try to solve the issue but it’s taken me a while in life to learn that a problem isn’t just a hurdle to jump over or a roadblock to drive around; it’s an opportunity to discover a new creative solution and to keep on trying again and again even if the original solution fails.
Being aware that a creative solution may not be successful at first, and that it’s ok to fail, and fail spectacularly as you learn from it, I believe, gets easier the more you experience it.
It can sometimes be simpler to fail in your personal life when the only people impacted are you, your family and/or friends. However, when you’re at work, you need a supportive workplace; from your boss and your colleagues. Everyone needs to agree that it’s ok to try to overcome challenges, knowing you could fail. Many years ago I was informed that 7 out of 10 new ideas failed, but the truth, as opposed to the urban myth, is slightly more complex as Microsoft explains.
Failing to solve a problem can create a newer, bigger problem, but this can be seen as another new opportunity. So this cycle of experiment, fail, and experiment again doesn’t continue ad infinitum, common sense and pragmatism need to be applied to stop any possible negative impact on your health, your finances and your time.
I’ve found it challenging in the past when I’ve been under pressure in a workplace, with competing deadlines for budgets, timescales and resources. The idea of trying a new creative approach to solve an issue, which could fail, is quite risky, even if the reward could create a better end result.
For me, at Rambutan, we’re not just empowered to experiment, we’re encouraged to look at new creative ideas, and given the time and space to see what may happen. In my previous workplaces senior leadership bought into the concept, but the pressures placed on them with decreased budgets, fewer resources and tightened deadlines, meant a wariness to encourage new ideas that could potentially deliver greater results but could also fail. It was the fear of failure that stifled innovation. In any workplace, organisational culture and operational pressures can squash the space needed to experiment, fail and experiment again until success arises.
It’s daring to have a workplace culture/ethos that allows people to innovate and then fail as well as innovate and then succeed. To keep faith with the creativity and experimentation of your employees and believe in them, even if they fail, has been a refreshingly uplifting experience for me.
This ‘try, fail, try again’ approach is not just at work. At home during the Xmas holidays, I discovered my husband failing to solve DIY problems himself, learning from them and eventually finding creative answers. To see the successful end results after a lot of hard work isn’t the warm fuzzy moment I thought it would be. Instead, the happy moment is seeing my husband’s confidence and self-belief growing in an older man (sorry about the age comment)! You can try and fail, then try and succeed, and learn new stuff whatever your age… oops I meant circumstances!