Why Failing is Key to Employee Development

by Harvard Business Review
employee development

In a post for the Harvard Business Review, Jeff Stibel explains why failure isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, he says, it’s necessary to create a company culture where employees can take risks without fear of reprisal.

Stibel explains that success by failure is not an oxymoron, adding that failure is key to employee development.

“When you make a mistake, you’re forced to look back and find out exactly where you went wrong, and formulate a new plan for your next attempt,” he writes. “By contrast, when you succeed, you don’t always know exactly what you did right that made you successful.”

(See Why You Need to Fail)

Stibel says if you’re not taking risks or failing every now and then, you’re probably not advancing.

“Mistakes are the predecessors to both innovation and success,” he writes.

The best way to get this kind of culture, he says, is to focus on hiring the people who will ultimately make up that culture.

Stibel says, as candidates run through the interview process, he is mainly looking for cultural fit, adding, there is no more important job for a CEO.

(See 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Mistakes)

“Often when interviewing, I poke around and see if I can get the candidate to acknowledge a failure,” he writes. “It’s a red flag to me if a candidate can’t admit a mistake with a bit of self-deprecating humor.”

For more on the importance of failure, read Stibel’s full post here.