Many organizations repeatedly run troubled projects, with recriminations and blame associated with every unanticipated failure. Folks in these companies do not understand the natural cycle of failure, and therefore are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Open communication is the most important step any organization can take to disrupt cycles of repeated failure. However, the taboo of failure remains strong, making communication virtually impossible.
- Related: The taboo of failure
In this short video clip, futurist Paul Saffo describes the importance of failure in building successful new companies. He does not focus on failed projects, but rather on the critical role that failure plays in helping us understand new and better ways forward. Paul teaches us to value the lessons of failure.
Those of us working on ground in projects should remember this key point: the light of day stops failure in its tracks. Do not hide or shrink from failure; instead be aware when failure occurs and discuss it openly with your team. More importantly, do everything in your power to create an open environment where everyone can acknowledge what went wrong without fear of reprisal.
If your organization suffers from repeated project failures, it's a sure bet the taboo of failure is alive and well. Change isn't easy, but without taking first steps success remains elusive.