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Failure is an option?

Failure has been a word of the moment for the past few years: “too big to fail“, Jim Collin’s How the Mighty Fall, and – I can’t count the British Petroleum headlines on the subject. Today, Seth Godin’s blog talks about the “hierarchy of failure worth following“:

. . . frequency = good all the way to please-don’t!

FAIL OFTEN: Ideas that challenge the status quo. Proposals. Brainstorms. Concepts that open doors.

FAIL FREQUENTLY: Prototypes. Spreadsheets. Sample ads and copy.

FAIL OCCASIONALLY: Working mockups. Playtesting sessions. Board meetings.

FAIL RARELY: Interactions with small groups of actual users and customers.

FAIL NEVER: Keeping promises to your constituents.

I’m reflecting on how this fits into my understanding of organizational and personal failure. Finally, a quote from Michael Jordan:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.

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