Freedom to Fail: How to Use Failure to Fuel Success

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CEO of Teamwork.com Peter Coppinger discusses the importance of learning from failure and how everyone on the team is being encouraged to celebrate their failures as well as success.

Back in January I watched an epic video on the engineering culture at Spotify, and something that really resonated with me was their willingness to celebrate failures internally:

“We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else. We want it to happen fast so we can learn fast and improve fast.” – Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

We’ve definitely have had failures at Teamwork.com, but our tendency was to brush them under the carpet and avoid discussing them at company level.

I wanted to change that.

Celebrating #Fails

We already had a #wins room in Teamwork Chat, where everyone on the team goes to announce their most recent triumph and celebrate with the rest of the company. As a counterpoint, I decided to start a new company room in Teamwork Chat called #fails.

Here’s what I said to the team in an internal blog post:

Here’s my ask… everybody here should be able to point to at least one failure they put in the room by the end of 2017. If you have none, you’re playing it too safe; we need to move fast, experiment, learn and share.

To get the ball rolling I posted the following in the #fails room:

Welcome to the all new #fails room!

This is a room where you should post up your mistakes (and your teams) so that we all can learn from it and evolve faster. Go forth and embrace the fail! I’ll start… (so many to choose from)…

One massive one that stands out is me saying that TKO will take 4-6 weeks; a moronic estimate without any real consideration of the missing API calls and sheer amount of work involved.

Starting the #fails room is encouraging us to analyze our mistakes, openly discuss things we need to correct when pursuing goals going forward and helps ensure that as a team, we never make the same mistake twice.

Failure happens.

I believe that recognizing this as a team and using every failure as an opportunity to learn is key to our continuous improvement and success.

I’m really interested to hear from others on this topic. So, if you have you have any strategies for learning from failure or tips on how you embed this in your company culture let me know in the comments below.

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12 Comments

Gráinne Forde

Fred,

It’s really great to hear that you’re enjoying the posts and how much your love for Teamwork is growing 🙂

All the best,
Gráinne

Reply
Gráinne Forde

Ann,

It’s great to hear you enjoyed the post — thanks for taking the time to let us know.

All the best,
Gráinne

Reply
Peter Coppinger

Cheers Rohit – we’re ramping up our content strategy so it’s really good to get feedback like this. 😀

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Fernando Kylas

Knowing that a company as yours embraces your team failures and grow better from it, give me the courage to get up and start running again.
And yes I too, like many others, am in love with you Teamworks.

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Peter Coppinger

That’s what we love to hear, go for it Fernando. And thanks for that!

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Kavish

Excellent might start a fail room slack session soon. Thanks Peter! Proud to be a customer of such innovative hub of people.

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Peter Coppinger

Cheers Kavish. Go for it and let us know how it works for you!

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Tony Barrett

Peter, this is a very refreshing outlook. We learn far more in the face of adversity & this should be where developmental opportunities arise. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Gráinne Forde

Tony,

Great to hear you enjoyed the post! Thanks for taking the time to let us know 🙂

Gráinne

Reply

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