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Daring to Learn (or How to overcome perfectionism to succeed)

Last November, we successfully launched an app to support the logistics of an important event organized in New York by the company I am part of. Perhaps, for most of us an app is commonplace nowadays. But not for many organizations.

We were successful in part because of the app, but also because all the people that used the app ended up satisfied and happy. However, I think that the most important is not the success itself. Don’t let it to deceive you (read: The Guy behind the app).

For me,

The real success is composed by two concepts extremely low-rated by many organizations: daring and failing. Let me explain this.

I would say that the most critical learnings came from daring to try something different without all the flanks covered. The challenge for us – and probably for a lot of organizations – is to learn how to live with the errors when trying something new.

There were many errors, I and the team did not expected otherwise, but we are not used to that in an organization and certainly, not in our lives. We like perfection and so, we condemned harshly errors and mistakes. We tend to point out fingers and get angry when something doesn’t work perfectly the first time. Failing is not accepted as an option, so daring is highly censored by others and by ourselves. However, to be successful we must learn to unlearn such perfection-centered thinking. We must understand that if we don’t fail we don’t learn. This is explicitly important to happen on both sides of the equation: Managers and Leaders (usually, the customers of innovation) and the Creators (everyone within the organization).

To be successful we must learn to unlearn such perfection-centered thinking.

We are in world that is moving quite fast. This is a new digital and connected world, which challenges us to dare or to fall behind. So, we need to learn not only to dare but also to fail and learn from failing to improve. That is a crucial part of the today popular Design Thinking process: launching – failing – learning – improving (read: Design Thinking explained).
We need to start living that cycle over, and over again. It is not a fetishization of failure. It is about not being terrified by failure and face it, embrace and overcome it by learning and improving. 

Organizations must change their approach to error. We as advisors, designers, trainers, CEO, employees need to change our mindset and embrace a daring and failing culture.

Just as our app, other apps, softwares, new customer experiences, MOOCS, augmented realities, and so, are just the positive consequences of such culture.

Did you fail? Good for you! Now, complete the cycle by learning and improving.

“Fail fast and fail cheap” said our CEO on the event I was talking about at the beginning. “Perfect is the enemy of done” I have heard from my boss several times. So, a Daring & Failing culture seems to be already in the air, but some of us are still refusing to take a deep breath of this fresh air. What gives me peace of mind is that sooner or later, we all must breath to survive. So, I guess that the question is how long can you hold your breath?

What do you think about it?

Are you willing to dare? Most important what are your thoughts about failure?

Please share and put your two cents on it.