One our mentors pointed us towards this wonderful book, Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes, and Thinking Big by Ralph Heath
As part of Fab Faber Series, we are glad to share few excerpts with you. Happy Reading!
Failure and high performance go hand-in-hand
Companies and employees with the highest performance have the lowest fear of failure—and a high failure rate. Surprised? They have a high failure rate because they are comfortable with failure as a vehicle for growth. Rather than be embarrassed by failure, they wear it as a badge of honor. They are always experimenting, trying to find the next great idea that will take them or their clients out of their comfort zones, to reach new highs of business success. – From Chapter 11: Pushing Yourself to Fail
Why I acknowledge my own mistakes and failures
I had an interesting conversation with one of my associates that I would like to share. He said, “Ralph, why are you so quick to point out your mistakes to the entire company?”
An excellent question and it is indeed a planned part of my management philosophy. I do it because I cannot keep repeating that it is perfectly acceptable for the people around me to make mistakes in their work, yet pretend that I never make mistakes. Or conversely, what better way to send a message to our organization that it is okay to make mistakes than to point out my own?
I should clarify that I am talking here about bold mistakes, mistakes that come from taking risks, not about failing to do your job professionally. – From Chapter 10: Learn From Your Mistakes
How can leaders empower their people?
Leading from the back empowers your workforce to take responsibility and lead. If your co-workers are out front providing solutions, they are far more apt to take ownership in those ideas—and owning an idea, believing it is your own, greatly increases an idea’s chances of succeeding. Unfortunately, it is not the way most parents or leaders are taught to manage. Management gurus make you think you’ve got to be out front charging the hill in front of the troops or you are somehow diminished or not doing your job. Leading from the front is a testosterone-driven philosophy that is appropriate in some battles, but not all. – From Chapter 4: Leading From the Back
Champion new ideas
New ideas need protectors and champions. Ideas need a shepherd to guide them through the difficult processes that are most often set up for the sole intent and purpose of ”killing“ anything new. Committees and focus groups are often the sworn enemies of new ideas. You have to do all you can to slow the attackers who are waiting to pounce and kill new ideas with phrases such as, “We tried that before.” Or, “The client won’t like that.” Or, “We don’t have enough time.” – From Chapter 2: Resistance to Change
You cannot go far with a small idea
There is a temptation in the advertising business to propose the safe concept. Some of the reasoning is based on fear. Fear that the client will not approve a risky or edgy approach (and many will not), as they fear change and losing their jobs. However, risky and edgy creative approaches are the ones that cut through the advertising clutter and get results for the client. Sometimes big ideas cause big change. Change that disturbs the safe status quo and forces a journey into the unknown. It is a challenge to train people to embrace change, take risks, think big, and work outside their comfort zones. – From Chapter 3: Think Big
New ideas require a change in thinking
Why are people so eager to cling to the past and so quick to kill new ideas? Accepting a new idea requires a “change” in thinking. When a person has been doing something a certain way for so long and someone else tries to enter their world that they control and suggests something that is counter to their established thinking, something they perceive as a threat, their first reaction is to attack the idea. – From Chapter 2: Resistance to Change
Sincere praise for a job well-done
If you pass out compliments too easily, simply for the sake of inspiring those who work for you, it may have unintended negative consequences: It can lower the quality of work because people will say to themselves, “Hey, that was easy. I didn’t even do my best work, but if that’s what the boss likes, I’ll give him more of the same.”
So now when I tell people they’ve done a nice job, which is often, I make certain they have, indeed, done a nice job. People know when you are sincere and appreciate it that much more. If you compliment people when it is truly deserved, the kind words have their intended effect and the radio station, or the advertising agency, performs at a much higher level. – From Chapter 7: Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, and Herb Lee