Hate the word, love the concept…

November 7, 2011

By John Munce, Relationship Executive, The Tatham Group

When you get right down to it, I hate to fail. I’m supposed to love it because it shows progress. The Tatham method says I should embrace it because failure uncovers the path to final success. But I still would rather be right than learn the hard way.

I’ve been around long enough to fail at lots of things. Like the old line that Michael Jordan missed over 9000 shots and Edison learned 900 ways not to make a light bulb. True, but I bet they didn’t like it.

A recent article about an artist failing brought all this to mind. The article analyzes a very public failure by Twyla Tharp, to peel back how to turn failure into success.

In Boot Camp we create a safe environment to fail and we use the simulator to let people learn how to respond.  This line really caught my eye:

First, try new things; second, try them in a context where failure is survivable.

That’s the approach I want to take. Keep trying new things and construct a context for surviving if they don’t work.  In the article they talk about the choreographer’s studio. At Boot Camp we use the simulator. When implementing a redesigned process we use a pilot.  Nothing works quite like we imagine it and we will always need to rub off the rough edges. Sometimes we even need to come back from the ashes, like Twyla Tharp.

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