Written By: Kari Mirabal

The Other “F” Word

Sooner or later, like death and taxes, failure (the other “F” word), is inevitable. However, if you embrace it – not run from it – amazing outcomes can result. When traveling across the country and delivering keynotes about networking strategies and creating authentic connections with other people, I almost always include in my topics the power of failure. I believe failure can be a highly effective coach if you take advantage of its lessons but how can you be proactive in the workplace to adopt a spirit of being failure-savvy?

Just like smart organizations are smart about failure by taking advantage of opportunities to use these lessons to create promising future options, choosing to learn from failure will help equip you to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. John Danner and Mark Coopersmith, authors of the book, The Other “F” Word, believe you can benefit from enlightened cultural attitudes about failure and share how organizations can leverage failure effectively. In their book, they discuss how leaders can figure out how to cope with, work with and then benefit from setbacks by learning five steps to be failure-savvy in the workplace.

Become Failure-savvy | 5 Steps

Decide where your organization needs to go

As you set a direction, understand that failure – which can function as a “strategic resource” – can help you and your colleagues reach your objectives. Of course, failure should never be a goal. But it can be the portal your organization traverses to gain new knowledge and experience.

Take stock of where you are, but beware

Which competitors are sneaking up on you? Who is playing Apple to your BlackBerry or Uber to your taxi business? Determine if new players or forces could eventually turn your business upside down. Recognize what your organization must do to remain competitive in the future.

Focus on a foundation of trust

China Gorman, the CEO of Great Place to Work, says trust matters more than any other factor in the corporate world. Engagement, loyalty and performance depend on trust. An absence of trust sets the stage for failure.

Team – your culture’s proving ground

Most business books point to leadership as the primary driver of achievement. However, individual employees interact in teams and that’s where your company implements successful initiatives. Focus attention and efforts on your teams. Culture at the team level trumps organizational culture, so your organization’s success or failure depends on the strength or weakness of your teams.

Metrics that prove you’re serious

The axiom to “measure what they treasure,” goes directly to the heart of business. Companies that monitor successes and failures can understand what works and what doesn’t. Armed with the insight-producing data from the right metrics, companies can adjust their activities to succeed.


Written By: Kari Mirabal