Embracing Failure

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Lack of Effort vs. Discoveries

The fear of failure can be paralyzing, preventing some from stepping out of their comfort zone. The anxiety from not messing up is stronger than the desire to gain something from the risk taken or winning. The fear of failure could sometimes look like perfectionism — the fear of doing something poorly, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations could lead to inaction. All energy is concentrated on not doing something terrible instead of focusing on achieving something. Such a mindset could lead to mediocrity and average results.

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The Buck Stops with Me

Leaders can reduce the stigma of failure by stopping the blame game and owning up to their mistakes. Blame can be contagious, and instead of passing it on, leaders who accept responsibility for their own mistakes can gain respect from their team and customers.

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Openness and Transparency

To create a culture that embraces failure and psychological safety requires openness and candor. The first step is for managers to expose their vulnerabilities — whether mistakes or challenges — and know that it may take time for their team to speak up about their weaknesses. It helps establish an open dialogue and open feedback and lets the team know that all perspectives are sought and welcomed.

Focus on What-If

Often the thought of failing is worse than the potential damage from the failure. Talking about the worst-case scenarios within the team and understanding what could be done to mitigate risks and manage the potential impact if the worst happens can empower leaders to design more conscious experiments.

Who is Lynn?

Lynn Yap is the author of The Altruistic Capitalist and founder of Actv8 Network, an organization focused on increasing the inclusion of women in technology and innovation. She is passionate about working with businesses to do good for people and the planet. Follow her on Instagram @altruisticcapitalist or sign-up for updates at lynn@altruisticcapitalist.com. See her in action here: https://tinyurl.com/AltCapGlobalLaunch



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Founder of Actv8 Network to increase the inclusion of women in tech. Author of The Altruistic Capitalist, about creating sustainable and prosperous businesses.