Shane Warne and Babe Ruth were sporting champions. But in both of their cases they had to risk failure in order to succeed.
At the time Shane Warne claimed the world record for being cricket’s leading test wicket taker he was also the international bowler who had the most sixes scored off him.
Similarly, in the year that New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth broke the world record for the number of home runs, he also led the league in strike outs.
Some might think that being bashed over the fence more times than anyone else if you are a bowler, or swinging and missing more times than anyone else if you are a batter, is failing. But both champions (and their organisations) realised that in order to win they had to take risks.
If Warney’s instructions from his captain were to bowl conservatively and whatever you do, don’t give runs away, it would have been impossible for him to take the wickets that he did. If Babe’s attitude was to just get to first base every time, he doesn’t get the world record for home runs.
What is your organisation’s attitude towards failure? If people try something new and it falls short, are they ridiculed? If people stick their neck out and have a go yet don’t get the outcome they wanted are they punished?
Leaders accept that not everything will work. They encourage experimentation and taking risks. They build corporate knowledge by learning from what worked and, importantly, what didn’t. Encourage your people to have a go. Celebrate their success and support and learn if they fail.