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How does your team learn from experimentation?

Success vs. Failure: What if we celebrate learning?

We love to tout the startup culture of fail fast, pivot, try again. And, yes, experimentation is a good thing. But maybe we are taking the celebration of failure too far? But, on the other hand, if we only follow best practices, we never develop news ones, they become old and we starve innovation. What we need is a balance, a world where we celebrate learning.

Success and Failure - Slide02

But we admit that it isn’t easy. You need to work to build a safe-to-fail environment where everyone feels safe to experiment, shares opinions and hones best practices.

Celebrating isn’t just from the top down. We suggest you have a bell–or a gong or a cannon–in the office where someone can ring to celebrate anything at all. It’s about peer-to-peer recognition and about expressing pride in ourselves.

Success and Failure - Slide19

Try a celebration grid to organize the talk around success (best practices), mistakes (bad practices, not to be repeated), and learning! Often used in retrospectives, a Celebration Grid is a simple way to visualize and evaluate experiments, when we test something when we don’t know if it’ll be successful or not.

We don’t learn anything if we keep repeating bad practices or good ones. We do learn when best practices fail or when mistakes are successful, but these are both unusual circumstances. We can’t simply “celebrate failure” because that can include repeating mistakes. When there’s a 50-50 chance of failure or success, we have an optimal time to learn. A Celebration Grid can help you open the discussion for more experimentation and learning and for discovering new best practices.

How will you encourage employee engagement by encouraging experimenting and learning today? Tweet to use at @Management30!

Download a Free Power (PDF) to Celebrate Success and Failure at Your Work!

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