Thursday, June 13, 2013

Failure is NOT an Option


Remember the movie, "Apollo 13" starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton.  Four of my favorite actors.  It came out way back in 1995.  Quite a movie.  What if the motto of Apollo 13 had been, "Well, maybe failure is OK and we can try again next time."  No way, Jocko!  The Flight Director's motto was, "Failure is NOT an option!"  You see, that movie was based on real-life story.  And the Flight Director's motto was taken from a real-life person at NASA.  They just did not accept failure.

That movie came to mind when I went to a web site today and saw a link that said "Accept Failure and Focus on Experimentation for Innovation".  The rest said "As Scott Anthony says, 'No matter how smart you are, no matter how hard you work, your first idea will be wrong.' Innovation experts Scott Anthony and Steve Wunker describe the mentality organizations must have to foster true innovation: one in which failure is accepted and experimentation (even those that do not succeed) is rewarded. " 

With this attitude, no wonder we have so many failures in today's startups.  There used to be the"Magic 7-Ps of Planning:  Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance !"  (OK, it's a bit risque but it makes the point!) I really believe in this planning principle.  And in the first word of it:  PROPER Prior Planning, not just Prior Planning.  Like my Dear Old Dad used to say, "Practice doesn't make Perfect.  Perfect Practice makes Perfect."  In order to do things properly, it takes training; lots of training and experience.  Experience that you don't get by going to one-week schools nor reading books nor by attending the best universities.  You get this in the school of hard-knocks at the feet of some of the very best in the world.  In whatever field of endeavor you have selected to be trained.  Train with the best and learn from the best.  Then, one day, you will be one of the best and you can train others to be the best.  There is no easy path to being the best.


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