Growth through failure


From an HBR Blog by Peter Bregman comes this interesting post – Why You Need to Fail. It discusses how failing in fact encourages people  to succeed.

Bregman’s post concludes:-

A growth mindset is the secret to maximizing potential. Want to grow your staff? Give them tasks above their ability. They don’t think they could do it? Tell them you expect them to work at it for a while, struggle with it. That it will take more time than the tasks they’re used to doing. That you expect they’ll make some mistakes along the way. But you know they could do it.

Want to increase your own performance? Set high goals where you have a 50-70% chance of success. According to Psychologist and Harvard researcher the late David McClelland, that’s the sweet spot for high achievers. Then, when you fail half the time, figure out what you should do differently and try again. That’s practice. And according to recent studies, 10,000 hours of that kind of practice will make you an expert in anything. No matter where you start.

I found the article interesting. In fact I read it twice and then saved it, to study again later.

When I reflected further on what Bregman wrote I realized that at various stages in my career I had been fortunate enough to work for people who were prepared to accept that failure or mistake was a possibility, but saw that as part of an individual growth path. In fact what I was being set were challenges and that failre to meet a true stretch was not a failure as such.

The concept is one well worth bearing in my mind, especially if you are in a leadership position. I may have been fortunate with regard to the value system of those I worked for, it is possible that in some organizational cultures this approach would not work. In such cases, it could be that the organizational culture needs adjustment.

Anyway think about what the article proposes and what it might mean.

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