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Failing Safe in the Workplace

Cate Murray (PM/BA Practice Director), Evan Pate (Talent Advocate), and Erica Woods (Manager of IT Contractor Programs)

August 2018


We had the pleasure of hosting Bob the BA to give a webinar entitled ‘Fail Fast – Fail Safe” which included great tips on how to adjust your mindset to embrace failure, lessons to “fail iteratively,” and insight on how finding our inner child to increases curiosity in the workplace.

Haven’t had time to listen yet? Here are the top takeaways:

  1. Embracing and benefiting from failure starts with resetting expectation on the front-end and viewing failure as a positive thing. Take an Agile approach to failure where you are engaging in small iterations of risks and then identifying and embracing failures as you move forward.
  2. Fear of failure mostly comes from within, not from external sources -- give yourself permission to fail.
  3. To reach a “fail forward” culture, every person needs to contribute to creating a culture of empathy and vulnerability. Vulnerability is where we start to bond with each other. Every individual and team can benefit from being more empathetic and vulnerable
  4. Always seek to find the positive within the negative. A negative mindset or view will produce negative results. We learn from failures when we view them as “positive opportunities.”
  5. Failure is one of your best sources of learning. Identify the following after each possible failing:
    • What did I learn?
    • What doesn’t work?
    • What can I do better?
    • How else did I benefit from this experience?
  6. Constantly work to change your frame of mind to accept failure. It can take up to 232 days to form an effective habit or break a bad one.
  7. Be curious, ask questions and seek out the “why” in real-time. If you wait too long to question something or bring up an alternate solution, you’ll lose the opportunity. < li>
  8. Create a ‘Curiosity Bucket List.’ Think about all the things that you have wanted to try personally or professionally, and start to look for different ways of doing things moving forward. Write them down, determine how to approach or make happen, and act.
  9. Employ different training and brainstorming techniques in the workplace by suggesting things like gamification, collaborative techniques you haven’t tried, etc… Spice up the old way of doing things.
  10. Utilize a Fail Fast Model where you discover curiosities (i.e. Curiosity Bucket List), experiment, and then analyze to determine conclusions.
  11. Avoid “blame-storming” (i.e. passing blame) -- a culture of blame-storming is a quick way to create a “fear of failure” environment.
  12. Say “thank you” when someone calls out a mistake or failure. View all feedback as a gift and focus on finding the value in it.
  13. Minimize rumination of failure by reflecting on it and moving on. Obsessing about failure damages your mindset and can be detrimental to your health.
  14. Take a “fail forward” approach in projects through prototyping, User Interfacing, unique and collaborative brainstorm approaches, Kanban, spicing up your space (i.e. conference rooms, office area, cubicles), do betas earlier, and celebrate failures.
  15. Embrace failure as a way of life.

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