Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Learning From Mistakes

Jeff Stibel recently wrote a post in the Harvard Business Review regarding the value of learning from failures - especially those who have had recent blunders in the world of social media.  The article references personalities and companies who have experienced the backlash - or forgiveness - of their "social tribe."  A few referenced examples include the infamous Congressman Weiner, Kanye West's apology for stealing the mike from Taylor Swift and the insensitive promotion pushed by Kenneth Cole during the launch of their Spring collection (the tweet referenced their new line as the cause of civil unrest in Cairo).  In summary, he emphasizes the need to be transparent, authentic and honest when using these channels; essentially be true to who you / your brand.  Sounds simple enough, although apparently many companies and personalities are proving it to be a challenge. 

While the entire article is a fascinating read, one internal practice of his company is truly worth sharing; "The Failure Wall."  In the corridor, they have an affectionately named a wall in which everyone lists three simple things: 1. A time in which they failed 2. What they learned from the failure 3. Their name.  This practice has had a profound effect on the company, allowing the team to not only accept that failure is a part of growing and learning, but to recognize the value of what can be learned from their co-workers' mistakes.  Truly a brilliant idea considering the demand for best practice examples and innovation.


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