How To Increase Your Return On Failure

“Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality).”

Businesses and business leaders and managers can learn a lot from this quote by former Pixar president, Ed Catmull. But, this is a value that can apply beyond just the creative industries. 

Property managers, facility managers, asset managers, and even leaders in retail, logistics and other industries can benefit from maximising their return on failure. And here's how.

Learn from every failure

Make reflection a part of your organisation’s regular operations. It’s not easy to look back on your failed attempts. But, there’s a lot your company can learn from reporting failures and learning from them. 

Analyse and reflect by asking yourself what the failure taught you about your business’s planning, policies, company culture and values, clients, and team efforts. 

Using an incident reporting platform is a practical and flexible way to stay ahead of this. You can analyse any issues and see what isn’t working when you implement new ideas.

Encourage your team to update information, report failures, note employee involvement and record costs. That way, your reflection process is simplified. You have easy access to all the data you need, as well as illuminating input from your employees.


Share the Lessons

Improve future projects and endeavours with the lessons learned from a failed effort by institutionalising change. Focus on the positives gained from the mistake, and share those with employees in your organisation. 

This will create an atmosphere of embracing flaws, issue reporting, and active improvement. It will also encourage the establishment of sustainable systems to avoid the same issues in future. 

For example, if your retail business employees identify faults in a department store's safety measures, a safety management platform becomes an important tool for issue reporting and safety observations to address and resolve the issue.


Review Your Pattern of Failure

When you analyse a failed project or mistake, it’s important to understand and distinguish the causes. Could you have succeeded with a different team, a better budget, or more efficient communication channels? Or does the failure reflect greater issues in your company’s systems? 

Identifying causes for your failure can help you take note of possible patterns. Consequently, you can ensure better decision-making in the future. 

Again, the only way to collect the necessary data you need to observe whether there is a pattern requires employee involvement through issue reporting, and shared reflection and learning.


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Final Thoughts

Being open to learning from failures enables you to share and institutionalise lessons learned. Then, you can grow from them. Approaching mistakes in this way can turn a sour experience into something positive for your organisation. 

By using the suggestions in this article, your organisation can use failures in your advantage. The time, resources and efforts put into a failed project can still reap valuable returns!


Are you looking for a tool to enable observation reporting for better error handling in your organisation? Falcony | Observe ticks all the boxes for reporting, investigation management, is easy to customise, enables real dialogue and is a lot more.

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We are building the world's first operational involvement platform. Our mission is to make the process of finding, sharing, fixing and learning from issues and observations as easy as thinking about them and as rewarding as being remembered for them.‍

By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

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