Failure IS an Option
Hooray! We failed
Just as in a game of Battleship, in business you can often learn just as much information from your misses as from your hits. While Silicon Valley and biotech companies are prime examples of the innovative industries that embrace—and even celebrate—failure, too many companies fear failure and end up stifling innovation and wasting time playing the blame game.
Embracing failure doesn’t mean tolerating poor performance or mistakes resulting from a lack of attention or effort. It means a corporate culture that values the hit-or-miss process of innovation. Companies afraid to fail may paradoxically put themselves in riskier positions than those that aren’t. Part of the reason for why there is so much consolidation among smaller firms in the AEC industry is that, unlike entrepreneurs who intrinsically understand the need for taking calculated risks, second-tier leaders tend to shy away from the inevitable failures that occur with experimentation.
Ask yourself: Do your employees have permission to fail? Or do they only have permission to fail to innovate? Leaders need to point out that failures are learning opportunities. Coach your employees about how to talk about failure. Emphasize that failure is inevitable, and it’s whether your firm learns from its mistakes that could set it apart.
Failure is a wasted opportunity unless lessons about what could have been done differently are learned and internalized. In “Fail Better: Design Smart Mistakes and Succeed Sooner,” authors Anjali Sastry and Kara Penn suggest writing a memo for each project “highlighting three things you will do differently in the next project to improve outcomes and three things you will keep doing because they were successful.” Disseminate these lessons during company meetings or brown-bag lunches and post them on the corporate intranet.
the Road Warrior
The Rise of Bleisure Travel
Business and pleasure
One of the biggest business travel trends in recent years has been the increasing tendency of road warriors to tack a few days of personal vacation time onto the beginning or end of work trips. According to the 2016 Consumer Trends report from Travel Weekly, the percentage of leisure trips with a business component increased from 11 percent in 2012 to 17 percent in 2016. A Carlson Wagonlit Travel report found most business travelers add personal vacation time after they have finished their work assignments, but some take it beforehand as a way to combat jet lag.
Savings in the air
The write stuff
Given the increasing popularity of bleisure travel, your firm may wish to include language in your corporate handbook stating whether bleisure travel is permitted and, if so, which rules employees need to follow, such as whether the company will cover the full cost of airfare if an employee’s vacation days result in additional marginal costs.
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