Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Failure As Teacher

Failure is a great teacher, especially if you take the time to understand why you failed. This examination of the causes of failure are critical for learning. This is how we gain experience and wisdom.

In a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, David Simms wrote "Whatever the consequences, the painful lessons you've learned, if shared appropriately, can certainly benefit someone else. I'm challenging myself — and you — to be willing to share those stories that have less than happy endings. We can help others, and maybe even learn something more about ourselves in the process." (Source:

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A forgotten mistake is a future error waiting to happen again. That means the critical second step after evaluating the causes of error is the sharing of those findings. If you don't share the causes and effects of failure, you doom others to repeat those same ill-fated steps.

Firm wisdom gives your company a platform for recording this valuable information to ensure it never happens again. What gets recorded, gets remembered. Recording your failures is just the beginning. Doesn't it make sense to begin capturing wisdom for the future?

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