Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... Failure Is Not an Option

Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... Failure Is Not an Option

Article excerpt

It's a phrase beloved of tough guy/gal bosses in the Hollywood mould, but what does it mean? If it is merely 'failure would be a really bad thing', then it's just another truism. But mostly it comes freighted with something more dangerous - an element of magical thinking, the idea that we can select a small number of critical projects and simply decide that they absolutely, positively will not fail. But refusing to countenance the possibility of failure can actually make it more likely Here's why:

It encourages rigidity. We have to stick to the plan, because to modify it would be 'failure', which is not an option. Ultimately we may fail within reach of success, because success doesn't look like we expect it to.

It creates blindness. There are forces at work that we cannot control - eg, competitors, new technology - some of which could sow the seeds of failure. But if we cannot recognise even the possibility of failure, we cannot look clearly at what is going on.

It breeds concealment and dishonesty. …

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