Everyone wants to be a winner. We all want to achieve success in what we do and to be making a real difference by the activity. As professional communicators this desire to be right all the time, and to take the right path with every piece of work, is even more pronounced. After all who wants to say that they failed?
I took part in an interesting Twitterchat #Commschat tonight about this very subject – daring to fail. The chat was busy as clearly this is a subject that affects a lot of people. How do we admit that something didn’t work? Will it undermine our reputation? Will the bosses allow us to take risks if we are seen to have failed? Does failure leave us vulnerable? We all have responsibilities, mortgages, bills to pay and having a job may be dependent on bringing results.
Failure is an essential part of life. Without things not quite working we will never improve and develop and ultimately move forward. Innovation can only happen with ideas and lots of them, some will work, some will fail and some may need to be refined. Of course, if we are continually failing then we may need to reassess what we are doing, and perhaps it isn’t the right job to be in.
We need to build an environment around us that allows us to take some risks and try something new, but to have an eye on risk management the whole time. There needs to be a value placed on having ideas, and we have to build the trust of bosses and the CEO so they can see what we are trying to do. I always have a 90/10 rule, where 90 per cent of things are fine and 10 per cent have a problem. Within that 10 per cent provided it is genuine then we can learn and move on. Those at the top have to be brave with this as do communicators.
The end result of trying new things and taking some risks is the chance to move forward in huge strides rather than baby steps. It could mean moving ahead of the opposition, significantly improving the service or increasing sales. The benefits are there and within our grasp if we are prepared to have ideas, do something new and sometimes accept failure.