Oops, Now Do It Again: Building a Company Culture that Celebrates Mistakes

by Inc.

Not every idea is a brilliant one, and even the greatest master plan can go awry. Failure shouldn’t be embarrassing, it should be a learning experience.

What’s important is that startup management teams embrace the spirit behind failure — creatively trying new solutions — accept that not all are going to work out, and build a company culture that celebrates and learns from mistakes. In this article from Inc., Howard Greenstein, president of the Harbrooke Group, discusses the lessons that Kellan Elliott-McCrea, chief technology officer of online craft marketplace Etsy, and Liz Crawford, CTO of curated products company BirchBox, had to teach during a recent panel, “Sh*t That Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time But I’d Never Do Again.”

By taking the shame out of failing, startup teams are able to have blame-free postmortems, Greenstein suggests, and that allows them to focus on the value of failure — lessons to use moving forward — rather than the negative. “Make failure, and then embrace it,” said Elliott-McCrea. “One way we do that is to give awards for the best (or worst) failure of the year on our team. At Etsy, we actually give the winner a 3-arm sweater.” For more on building a company culture that embraces mistakes, read the full article at Inc.