Fear of failure, known as atychiphobia, can stop us in our tracks. Spooky, we know. Imagine being possessed by some external source that commands your every move. Failure sucks, but for some people that fear can stand between them and the life they secretly yearn for, blocking their dreams. Halloween is a great opportunity to unpack your fear of failure and exorcise it for good. A growing body of evidence suggests that a fixed mindset can literally prevent us from learning and developing skills. But how do you flip that switch to growth mindset? Grab your garlic and wooden stake, here’s what you can learn about growth mindset from Halloween.
Resilience at work toolkit? Why do we need that? We spend a huge amount of our lives at work and yet often it’s cited as one of the major sources of stress. We know that the world is changing rapidly and frequently organisations and individuals are unable to keep up with that unprecedented pace of change. The result? Stress and burnout. Working for a Healthier Tomorrow the 2008 report authored by Dame Carol Black recognised business as a key player in promoting adult health and wellbeing. But still we lose an average of 17 million work days due to stress, anxiety and depression according to the Mental Health Foundation. The World Health Organisation has named stress as the ‘health epidemic of the 21st century’ The antidote? Resilience. Take a walk through our resilience at work toolkit where we examine what it is, the latest resilience research and how to develop more of the stuff. Step inside and we’ll show you how to keep calm and carry on.
Silence your inner critic? You would if you could, but sometimes it seems to have a mind of it’s own. Do you sometimes
- Feel not good enough?
- Believe everything you say sounds stupid?
- Before you even try you’re afraid of failing?
- Wonder why no one else seems to feel like that?
- Allow your inner critic to sabotage your goals?
- Feel that you’re in a cycle of negativity?
- Wonder what’s wrong with you?
Wish your inner critic would just shut the *£@!** up?
You’re not alone, self defeating thoughts affect every one of us some point and can be a major obstacle to achieving success. But how to silence it?
You’re an Imposter. That’s right, you’re a fraud. Everything that you’ve ever achieved is down to dumb luck. You’ve blagged your way to where you are. How come nobody else has noticed except you? You’ve conned them all. Sound familiar? If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome you’re in good company. Research suggests 70% of us will experience the phenomena at some stage in our lives. Look around you, is it really true that everyone else is smarter than you? Perhaps they’re shiftily looking sideways in your direction and wondering the exact same thing? But how to get rid of that constant fear that you’re so fake? Imposter syndrome & how to beat it.
Failure makes an uncomfortable bedfellow. Many business spend their time focusing upon performance goals avoiding mistakes or trying to shift them elsewhere when they happens. In many start ups and established businesses the resulting blame culture stifles and shuts down innovation as employees fear the aftermath of failure. The problem with this is that innovation is an inherent unknown, it’s value lies in discovery by trial and error and that path is littered with the carcasses of failure.
Many start ups, especially in the tech world are turning the traditional paradigm of failure avoidance on it’s head. Google subsidiary, X, the company’s research lab led by Astro Teller, or “Captain of Moonshots” is a failure evangelist. X works firmly in the future rather than the present. Think AI, Google Brain, the driverless car, Project Loon or Project Calico researching life extension none of these would have come into being if Google fostered a blame culture. With a fail fast mantra firmly focused on the future, this culture incubates the art of possibility, of what could be rather than what is. In fact, Teller goes one step further actively encouraging experimentation by celebrating and rewarding failure (see our blog on Moonshots for more on this). This organisational culture embraces error reporting, shunning shaming and cover up. Proving Stanford Business Professor, Baba Shiv’s claim that failure truly is “The mother of innovation.”
Creating a No-Blame Culture For Innovation
Researchers at the Johannes Kepler Universitat (Rami, U. & Gould, C. 2016. From a “Culture of Blame” to an Encouraged “Learning from Failure Culture”. Business Perspectives and Research) found 3 drivers necessary to shift away from a blame culture.
- Act on covering up errors. If they’re hidden you can’t learn from them. This comes from the top and is usually influenced by leadership style. A punitive, authoritarian leader is less likely to persuade employees to discuss and learn from failure than a delegative, authentic leader who listsens. Genuine conversations need to take place around the value of error and it’s inherent correlation with innovation. Take a leaf from Google’s dream leader, Teller and throw a failure party.
- Error communication. The research found that employees in fast paced organisations with elevated workloads were more likely to report their errors. Where error was caused by lack of knowledge or training it was less likely to be reported. One of the most important factors in error reporting was peer support. This requires a people focused leadership style along with trust, transparency and openness.
- Social backing. This is really about buy in and trust. Employees need to believe that their colleagues have bought into no blame, error reporting. They also need to trust in the leadership team and that there is a real investment in innovation through fast failing. If employees secretly believe that the honesty required for error reporting will come back to bite them on the ass, your culture of innovation will fall down at the first hurdle.
12 Steps to Creating A Failure Friendly Innovative Culture
If you’re building a start up or leading an established business these steps are necessary to shift from a blame culture to an innovative learning culture.
- Model the behaviour you want to by admitting your own mistakes. A learning culture instead of a blame culture starts at the top.
- Discourage your managers from promoting a purely task focused performance culture.
- Promote open error reporting for large and small errors equally.
- Examine your systems, do they support or reward error outing rather than creative discussion?
- Ensure that all employees prevent error cover up.
- Place the spotlight on error management rather than people blame.
- Make sure that you have buy in from your leadership team to create a constructive error culture
- Cultivate a culture of discussion, creative debate and non-judgement
- Shine the light of error responsibility on procedures and systems rather than people.
- Make sure than competency and knowledge deficit is reduced by training your people.
- Celebrate and reward failure in a tangible way.
- When you enjoy a success borne out of failure communicate it to all levels of your organisation.
Want to know more about creating a no-blame culture or building innovation and creativity? We offer consultancy, training, bitesize, half day or one day training courses along with conference sessions on how to build effective organisations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. We’d love to talk with you.