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Failure Myths

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A few key ideas to critically examine the "embrace failure" mantra, which has frankly turned into propaganda. Presentation @ Monash University Business School 2017

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Failure Myths

  1. 1. Failure Myths Dr. Ricardo Sosa ricardo.sosa@monash.edu
  2. 2. Failure? “Fail fast, fail often, fail forward, fail better” Beyond the trendy mythology…
  3. 3. Failure isn’t the opposite of Success
  4. 4. “Donald Trump is a successful person”
  5. 5. “Vladimir Putin is a successful person”
  6. 6. “Kim Jong-un is a successful person”
  7. 7. “Julia Gillardis a successful person”
  8. 8. “Lance Armstrong is a successful person”
  9. 9. “The War in Afghanistan has been a success”
  10. 10. “It’s complicated” For the right people at the right time, anything is a success or a failure
  11. 11. Two lists… “MY BIGGEST FAILURES” … … … … … “MY BIGGEST SUCCESSES” … … … … …
  12. 12. Success  Failure Failure  Success
  13. 13. “Babe” Ruth hit 714 home runs in his career (1914-1935) He also struck out 1,330 times in his career http://www.flickr.com/photos/cliffbaise/4479440032
  14. 14. “Alfred Nobel was full of ideas; he said ‘If I have a thousand ideas a year, and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied’. I, too, am full of ideas, and I would be satisfied with one good idea per year” Dr. Linus Paulinghttp://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1962/pauling-acceptance_en.html
  15. 15. “Effectuation Logic” Saras D. Sarasvathy Professor in Business Administration & Entrepreneurship
  16. 16. Effectual logic (vs. casual logic) Principles: 1. “Bird in Hand” 2. “Affordable Loss” 3. “Patchwork Quilt” 4. “Lemonade” 5. “Pilot-in-the-plane” www.effectuation.org
  17. 17. “Abductive Reasoning” Charles Sanders Peirce Philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist
  18. 18. Abductive Reasoning • Deduction: “theory-driven” • Induction: “observation-driven” • Abduction: “consequence-driven”
  19. 19. Deductive Inductive Abductive All A are B C is A Thus, C is B All observed A are C Thus, all A are C C is observed If A, then C would follow Hence, there is a reason to suspect A is true (Peirce 1934)
  20. 20. “It then took me 5,127 prototypes to develop the final machine, each failed prototype informing the next one.” James Dyson
  21. 21. https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/dyson-reinvents-the-vacuum-again-and-a-smart-cleaner-could-be-on-the-way-9066199.html
  22. 22. “CV of Failures” Activity
  23. 23. Reflect What is your attitude towards failure? How have you been educated to face failure? What could be positive about failing?
  24. 24. Ask Learn from others’ mistakes Identify the numerous failures behind successful people / businesses Look for ‘trial and error’ processes (in Nature, Science, Society, Learning)
  25. 25. Challenge Try doing something new, anything you haven’t tried so far Focus on your emotions toward error Overcome, learn, persist and improve
  26. 26. Failure vs. Success Cultivate a paradoxical combination of: Confidence (perseverance, obstinacy) + Learning (openness, humility, feedback)
  27. 27. Discussion What if you stop seeing failure and success as opposite? What changes at work? In your personal life?

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