how can we learn not to fear failure? 

Stefan Gueorguiev, Senior Business Development and Community Manager, Advent Group, Bulgaria

This article was first published in 2020 in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network eZINE Volume 3 no 2

Stefan Gueorguiev is Senior Business Development and Community Manager for Advent Group HE Services and the MERIT Leadership Community.  In this article, he reflects on a small group discussion at the MERIT Summit which took place in Seville, Spain, in early 2020…   

An innovative aspect of the Summit was the “Un-conference” which allowed delegates to take a more innovative approach to discussing key issues. One group debated “Are employees afraid to fail?” It was a topic that generated incredible conversation and participation across our HR Executive Community.

Image credit: Pixabay

The summative conclusions drawn from this group discussion undoubtedly recognised the importance of building an organisational culture that fosters planned risk taking and that facilitates employees to learn and engage in practices that create an entrepreneurial mindset. Progress is, in essence, an achievement of strategy and controlled experimentation.

In particular, a culture of blame means that:

  • nobody wants to be seen as a failure 
  • discussion of failure is avoided 
  • customers also suffer

Ideally, a no-blame culture could mean that:

  • experimentation and learning were encouraged
  • simulations could be a safe way to explore failure 
  • prototyping could support quick correction of minor failures

In summary, by proactively exploring risk-taking scenarios we can learn from, and not be afraid of, failure. ◼️