Embrace Failure

fail responsibly agile4life

One of the greatest challenges Agile Teams we all face is learning to acknowledge and embrace failure.

Typical organizations have become quite skilled at refining Status Reports and showcasing statistics that highlight areas of strength; or at least the perceived areas of strength, while underplaying, or flat-out ignoring, areas of failure or low growth. Additionally, our children are now learning to stay away from failure; our kids are less encouraged to face loss, as our system has softened the concept by rescuing them rather than teaching them how to fail.

A recent study conducted by Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. They are also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas, Kim said.

Kim researched the “Torrance Test”, an exam that measures an aspect of creativity called divergent thinking. His study found that today’s youth have become inundated with tests that require the “right answer” so much so that they are less open to their own creativity. In essence, our children are afraid to get it wrong. Sadly, I discovered the same findings in y experience coaching many individuals in the corporate sector.

The realization and acceptance of our failures is necessary for our improvement. After all, how can anyone improve something that they don’t acknowledge needs improving? This has become a vicious cycle in business entities, families, schools, churches and individuals.

Failure is vulnerable. Our culture has become riddled with the Hero-of-the-Day recognition model. Unfortunately, there’s no room for failure under that cape.

So, how do we encourage our teams, employees, family and friends to “fail responsibly?” … This will be covered in my next post entitled, The Art of Failing Responsibly

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