Free Essay

How Failure Breeds Success

In: Business and Management

Submitted By aditimukne
Words 1108
Pages 5
How Failure Breeds Success Even heard of Choglit? How about OK Soda or Surge? Long after ‘New Coke’ became nearly synonymous with innovation failure, these products joined Coca-Cola Co.’s graveyard of beverage busts. Given that history, failure hardly seems like a subject CEO E, Neville Isdell would want to trot out in front of investors. But Isdell did just that, deliberately airing the topic at Coke’s annual meeting in April. “You will see some failures,” he told the crowd. “As we take more risks, this is something we must accept as part of the regeneration process.” Warning Coke investors that the company might experience some flops is a little like warning Atlantans they might experience afternoon thunderstorms in July. But Isdell thinks it’s vital. He wants Coke to take bigger risks, and to do the, he knows he needs to convince employees and shareholders that he will tolerate the failures that will inevitably result. That’s the only way to change Coke’s traditionally risk averse culture. And given the importance of this goal, there’s no podium too big for sending the signal. While few CEOs are as candid about the potential for failure as Isdell, many are wrestling with the same problem, trying to get their organizations to cozy up to the risk-taking that innovation requires. A warning: it’s not going to be an easy shift. After years of cost-cutting initiatives and growing job insecurity, most employees don’t exactly feel like putting themselves on the line. Add to that the heightened expectations by management on individual performance and it’s easy to see why so many opt to play it safe. Indeed for a generation of managers weaned on the rigors of Six Sigma error-elimination programs, embracing failure-gasp! Is close to blasphemy. Stefan H. Thomke a professor at Harvard Business school and author of Experimentation matters, says that when he talks to business groups, “I try to be provocative and say : ‘Failure is not a bad thing,’ I always have lots o people staring at me, (thinking) ‘Have you lost your mind?’ That’s O.K it gets their attention. (Failure) is so important to the experimental process.” Granted, not all failures are praiseworthy. Some flops are just that : bad ideas. The eVilla, Sony Corp’s $500 “Internet appliance.” The Pontiac Aztek, GM’s ugly duckling ‘Crossover’ SUV. But intelligent failures-those that happen early and inexpensively and that contribute new insights about your customers-should be more than just tolerable. They should be encouraged. “Figuring out how to master this process of failing fast and failing cheap and fumbling toward success is probably the most important thing companies have to get good at’ say Scott Anthony, the managing director at consulting firm Innosight. Perhaps most important it means designing ways to measure performance that balance account ability with the freedom to make mistake. People may fear failure, but they fear the consequences of it even more. “The performance culture really is in deep conflict with the learning culture,” says Paul J. H. Schoemaker, CEO of consulting firm Decision strategies International Inc. “it’s an unusual executive who can balance these.” Some organizations have tried to measure performance in a way that accounts for these opposing pressures. At IBM Research, engineers are evaluated on both one and three year time frames. The one year term determines the bonus, while the three year period decides rank and salary. The longer frame can help neutralize a year of setbacks. “A three year evaluation cycle sends an important message to our researchers, demonstrating our commitment to investing in the early, risky stages of innovation,” says Armando Garcia, vice president for technical strategy and worldwide operations at IBM Research. In addition to making sure performance evaluations take a longterm view, managers should also think about celebrating smart failures. (Those who repeat their mistakes, of course, should hardly be rewarded.) Thomas D. Kuczmarski a Chicago new-product development consultant, even proposes “failure parties” as a way of recognizing that it’s part of the creative process. “What most companies do is put a wall around a failure as if it’s radioactive,” says Kuczmarski. Most companies don’t spend enough time and resources looking backward. General Electric Co. (GE) is trying to do just that. The company, which is well known for sharing best practices across its many units, has recently begun formally discussing failures, too. Last September the company set up a two-hour conference call for managers of eight ‘imagination break throughs’ that didn’t live up to expectations and were being shelved, or ‘retired’, in GE’s parlance. Such discussions can be nerve-racking especially in companies where failure has traditionally been met with tough consequences. That was the case at GE, which is now three years into the effort spearheaded by Chairman and CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt to make innovation the new mantra at the $150 billion behemoth. Some companies have gone even further, taking a comprehensive look at all their previous failures. That was the case at Corning Inc., which found itself teetering on the brink of bankruptcy after the once red-hot market for its optical fiber collapsed during the telecom bust. Following that debacle, then –Corning CEO James R. Houghton asked Joseph A. Miller Jr. executive vice president and chief technology officer, to produce an in-depth review of the company’s 150-year history of innovation, documenting both failures and successes. That’s why W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. in Newark, Del., makers of the waterproof fabric Gore-Tex, recognizes outsiders-people within Gore but not on the product development team-who make the call on projects that need to be pulled. When Brad Jones led Gore’s Industrial Products Div. which makes sealants and filtration systems, he handed out ‘Sharp Shooter’ trophies to these outside managers when a project was effectively killed. These marksmen, so to speak, freed from the trappings of familiarity, can identify potential snags that the team may have overlooked. “We’re effusive in our thanks for that contribution,” says Jones. “We ask them to write up with they learned from it, and how we could have made the decision (to kill the project) faster.” A company’s reaction in the face of intelligent failures can send tremors or thrills through a culture. It top executives are accepting, people will embrace risk. But if managers react harshly, people will retreat from it.

Questions : 1. Why can studying failure help managers to better manage the control process and improve performance. 2. What kind of specific changes in control systems would studying failure lead to? 3. It is reported that Ratan Tata the chairman emeritus of Tata groups celebrates failures publicity. Comment

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

How Failure Breeds Success

...How Failure Breeds Success Shevelle Green Principles of Management Professor James Day May 30, 2010 The purpose of this paper is to explore business failures and the effect of studying the failure can have on managing the control processes and performance improvements. I will point out specific changes in control systems that studying failures may lead to. Many reputable businesses have had failed products in their history. Business such as Nestlé’s Choglit, a chocolate-flavored milk drink, test marketed in 2002 failed according to Ben Gay Aspirin was another failed product that many consumers never even heard of. Although having a failed product is not a good thing, businesses are turning the study of these failures into somewhat of learning experience. They are using the results as a way to improve the performance of an existing or new product. To achieve innovation sometimes means that you will produce a product that may fail. Companies need to be comfortable with this concept and not afraid to take the risk of failing. For a company that is not already successful and have the resources this may be easier said than done. Companies that are already established stand a better chance taking this risk without worrying about the success of their business. Coca Cola is a perfect example of the preceding statement. Coca Cola has had many failed products over the years. “New Coke” was a product introduced by Coca Cola in 1985....

Words: 921 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

How Failure Breeds Success

...About the case The purpose of this case is to draw attention to how corporations are beginning to understand that being innovative, and taking risks, means coping with the potential of product failure. This case looks at how companies are trying to develop organizational cultures that are innovative, risk taking and able to deal with product failure. It identifies some of the major corporate flops like eVilla Sony Corp’s $500 internet appliance and General Motors crossover SUV. This case also quotes leading business school academics on how failure is important to the experimental process. It outlines how companies can learn from failure and suggests that the challenge is knowing how to balance organizational performance and learning cultures. Moreover it describes how some companies are tackling the issue for example how Corning examined its successes and failures spanning its 150 year history. It also highlights how being involved in learning from failure can impress present and future employers and presents best-practice ideas for getting the most out of failures. Case Analysis Experiential learning process Experiential learning involves learning from experience. According to Kolb, concrete experience provides the information that serves as a basis for reflection. From these reflections, we assimilate the information and form abstract concepts. We then use these concepts to develop new theories about the world, which we then actively test....

Words: 761 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

...Dell’s success did not come without some major resistance. For instance, “Dell experimented with an indirect model...

Words: 891 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay


...We all know that failures are Stepping Stones to Success.Failure is one of the toughest things to deal with and happens so frequently in life, on various levels, that learning to deal with it can aid how we approach all types of Endeavour. No one likes experiencing failure, but every attempted goal includes the possibility of failure as well as that of success. To grow we much keep reaching out for these new experiences. Failure feels so bad because it directly affects our ego and sense of identity in relation to the world around us. Failure can make us feel ineffective, inadequate and isolated. But this stage of failure is only temporary and will pass. Try to take advantage of a failure by analyzing what you could have done differently and rest assured that you will never sufferer the same failure again. If a failure was something unavoidable or beyond your control, perhaps you can attempt the project again with other collaborators. In either case, understanding our failures is a key component in dealing with them and being able to move on to new goals and projects. Once you’ve taken a look at a failure and determined what you could or could not have done differently to alter the outcome, don’t dwell on the issue. One of the most important parts of getting over failure is to move on to the next thing. Success breeds successful feeling people, so don’t hesitate to go ahead with your next project or goal. Choose something that you are particularly knowledgeable...

Words: 259 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Michael Dell and Andy Grove

...Dell, “From the start, our entire business from design to manufacturing to sales was oriented around listening to the customer, responding to the customer, and delivering what the customer wanted” (p. 59) is of great importance because that contributed immensely to his success because his primary focus was directed towards his customers’ needs, dealing with their requirements, and simply cutting off the middleman. Additionally, his organization was able to make products the customer wanted and willing to pay for rather than allowing managers to decide what they think...

Words: 847 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Failure to Escape Traumatic Shock

...Failure to Escape Traumatic Shock by Seligman and Maier The purpose of this study was to determine the type of learning acquisition in dogs that were subjected to three different styles of electric shock. They wanted to determine what method of learning worked the best to avoid a shock for an extended period of time. Each of the three groups of dogs learned escape/avoidance training, however the "escape" group and the "yoked" group gained more training than the normal control group. The "escape" group was taught during their training that touching the side panels during the shock would terminate it. This was repeated 64 times in the harness and the same training was done 10 more times in the shuttle box, 24 hours later. The "yoked" group received the same training as the "escape" group, however the "escape" group could touch the side panels to end the shock while the "yoked" group was taught the same thing, but touching the panels did not end the shock. In Experiment 1 the "yoked" group might have experienced a concept called learned helplessness. The researchers in this version of the experiment proceed to think that because the "yoked" group couldn't get out of the shocks by touching the side panels, that the group just accepted the fact that the shocks will take place and that they can't do anything about it....

Words: 660 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Airline Industry

...Dean, School of Aviation Dowling College New York, USA President, Airline Visions The University of Sydney Faculty of Economics and Business Leadership and Policy Seminar Series Sydney, Australia 23 February 2010 Presentation Objectives • Provide background on the global industry • Present a regional analysis • Discuss current and future evolvement of the industry (trends) • Discuss challenges and strategies impacting the industry • Discuss the new breed of airlines • Discuss why airlines fail and how to achieve success Background Section 3 Stages of Development Impacting the Airline Industry • • • • Regulation Liberalization Deregulation “Re-regulation” Phases of Industry Restructuring (resulting from Deregulation / Liberalization) • Expansion • Consolidation • Concentration Past, Present and Future Trends The Global Airline Industry 2012 2010 2008 Time 2006 2004 2002 2000 1998 Survive Adapt Recover Rethink State of Industry “Scenarios” • • • • • SARS 9/11 War Financial Crisis of 2008, 2009, 2010… What to prepare for… – – – – Globalization Change in international political landscape Distribution of natural resources (oil, gas, water) Internal conflicts (shifts in power) and unintended consequences and unintended consequences of good intentions Public and international perception War Terrorism Continued financial issues – – – – Top 5 Frustrations in Aviation 1. 2. 3. 4. 5....

Words: 1944 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

First, Break All the Rules

...The authors in their book “First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” asks, “Should you build close personal relationships with your employees, or does familiarity breed contempt?” and they responded “The most effective managers say yes, you should build personal relationships with your people, and no, familiarity does not breed contempt.” (Blackaby) Great managers in the world differ from one another in terms of age, race and gender. Each of them has a different style of management and different set of goals. In spite of the varied difference, Great managers share one common trait: They do not hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. They do not believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They do not try to help people overcome their weaknesses. They consistently disregard the...

Words: 1456 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay


...More people are brought into the change process throughout the organization 8 – Anchor new approach in culture – Reinforce change by recognizing change and how it has led to success.  Develop methods to ensure leadership development and succession.   The 11 reasons employees resist change include: 1. Individual’s predisposition toward change – change can be difficult and we learn this from an early age.  When I was 11, my parents got divorced and it was difficult for me to understand why I had to...

Words: 1183 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...ENGLISH ESSAY: MACBETH “Macbeth shows us a world blackened by selish desires.” In life, we are often oblivious and undermine the power of evil as we aren’t directly exposed to the dangers and destructive consequences at first. We are presented with this same idea in the tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Macbeth’s progression and transformation throughout the play demonstrates and a world blackened by selfish desires. Macbeth at the beginning of the play is shown to be a friendly, honest and loyal person. But later, manipulation and deception as well as lust and greed mould Macbeth in to an aggressive, ambitious and possessed man. Finally, through his transformations we are able to identify a world blackened by selfish desires. Macbeth at the beginning of the play is shown to be a friendly, honest and loyal character. Shakespeare demonstrates Macbeth's loyalty to his king and to Scotland as the Captain recalls, "brave Macbeth killed [Macdonald]." Macbeth is well respected by his peers and maintains good relationships with them and is willing and committed to acting to protect Scotland. Furthermore, we are introduced to Macbeth by Malcom in act one scene two as a “good and hardy soldier” further highlighting his brave and courageous nature. On a different level, Macbeth shows he is a loving and respectful character in his attitude and approach towards his wife as he calls her his “dearest partner of greatness.” Additionally, we are able to measure the strength of......

Words: 742 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay


...Lead by building a strong brand, centered on product quality and best of breed services. 2. Build a strong research and development capacity to boost Innovation to capture and meet the needs of customers, Another important dimension of Haier’s mission and strategies is to build Haier into a global brand by internationalizing its R&D, manufacturing, distribution, services, etc. Internationalization Strategies * Focused on difficult markets first-enter the difficult developed market first. This will allow Haier way to develop highest quality standards since the requirements in the developed market are very tough and not easy to meet. * Staff with locals who have worked multinational/top brand. Use local people and local thinking to satisfy the needs of the customers. * Utilized speed and differentiation approach. Haier paid close attention to consumer needs in overseas market and made modifications to meet them. Focuses on minor details (e.g. freezer with a separate compartment for ice scream). * Rapid product development which was facilitated by its eight design center * To manufacture quality products and sell it at a premium price * Offered what the developed market didn’t have....

Words: 4083 - Pages: 17

Premium Essay

Information Technologies

...Inattention to these issues often breeds resistance to a new system and may also produce a system that is incompatible with the organization. Conflicts between the technical orientation of system designers and the business orientation of end users must also be resolved for successful implementation of systems. The success or failure of organizational change can be determined by how well information systems specialists, end users, and decision makers deal with key issues at various stages of implementation Systems are likely to fail when system builders ignore “people” problems. The success of a system and its acceptance depends ultimately on the people using the system. While a system may meet the functional requirements of an organization, its acceptance or rejection would ultimately depend on the people using the system. The users or people using the system need to be an integral part while designing the system. In this way system builders would be able to understand the concerns of the people using the system, as well as motivate them to be use the system effectively. The support of management is also an essential part for the successful deployment and use of a system. Often systems fail as there is lack of management support and initiative due to which there is lack of interest among the users as well....

Words: 628 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Ersonal Responsibility: Only You Can Hold Yourself Accountable for Academic Success.

...Personal Responsibility: Only you can hold yourself accountable for academic success. Even though many students believe that they do not need a plan to achieve academic success, planning and goal setting is critical, without having a plan, and setting goals self-accountability for success is difficult. Maintaining a plan to succeed and to hold yourself accountable for both success and failure is the first step in personal responsibility. Students that plan for and take personal responsibility for their education have drastically improved success rate of achieving their educational goals. Personal responsibility is holding yourself accountable for the actions you choose or chose not to take in your pursuit of success. Students that do not take personal responsibility for their success are doomed to fail. Success is a choice and is attained by not only choosing to be successful but by making the correct choices along the way to ensure you are staying on the path to success. Students that take personal responsibility for their education have drastically improved success rate of achieving their academic goals. As a student, you must develop a plan for success and then be self-accountable to using this plan to ensure success....

Words: 1485 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Week 5 Professional Values and Ethics Paper (Learning Team Assignment)

...Ethics and Values: Good Guides Toward Occupational and Educational Success Learning Team C: Names of team members Axia College of University of Phoenix Abstract What are ethics and values? Values are what a person or society hold as important and a desired behavior. Ethics are sometimes based on a collection or one value. Ethics are what is considered morally right to one or more individuals. Upholding to good values and good ethical beliefs will greatly aid us in our lives, at our jobs, and in our schools. They effect the decisions that we make our successes or failures. Some of the important values to businesses, schools, and colleges are education, safety, a friendly and professional attitude, integrity, and honesty. Displaying integrity in a professional working environment will greatly benefit anyone. Integrity is a constant devotion to following guidelines based on good morals, ethics, and standards. Integrity will provide a safe and stable environment. Good integrity is found in all good managers. It is the key to leading by example. Ethics and values are the key to all good students, teachers, leaders, mentors, and all professionals. They are our guide through life, help us make good choices, and lead us to many life successes. What are values and ethics? What do they have in common? How can they effect our everyday lives?...

Words: 2160 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Four Circles Model

...There are numerous tools and strategies that administrators and school leaders can implement that will aid in identifying obstacles and providing solutions to improve student success. One such tool is the Four Circles Model outlined by Charlotte Danielson. The Four Circles Model allows administrators and other school leaders to categorize information into four basic groups; or circles, as they embark on the improvement journey. The first circle, is entitled “What We Want” and is comprised of the school’s basic goals and objectives. Some of the goals included in the first circle high-level learning for all students, safe and positive learning environment and a culture of hard work and...

Words: 1873 - Pages: 8