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Why CIOs Need to Learn to Use the ‘F-Word’

In the right time and place, the F-word is the most liberating word of all. The word we mean is “failure,” of course. Admitting failure and learning from failures is more useful than anything to be found in most business texts. Jim Love supports this idea in an article for IT World Canada.

Fessing Up to Failure

Love cites a book series that glosses over failure – the Balanced Scorecard books. Love happened to work for a company that was used as a case of “success” in one of the books. The reality, according to Love, was nothing like the success the Scorecard book illustrated. In fact, it was the opposite. 

We have all omitted our failures at one time or another. Listen to the way people describe a setback or failure in their careers or in our business. “Someone else did it.” “We were set up to fail.”   “Nothing we could do.” “We warned them it wouldn’t work. Nobody would listen.” Only rarely do you hear – “I totally blew it” or “that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. “

The consequence of not admitting to mistakes leads to a toxic work culture and an environment where morale cannot thrive, all the while missing opportunities to learn from error. Love cites several cases of how people will categorically omit their mistakes and failures, such as when a fellow manager garnered favor by externalizing his own mistakes on his staff, creating an environment of fear and contempt.

Confronting failure means going beyond text books and beyond comfort zones. Michael Jordan, for instance, was quick to admit his innumerable failures, despite what most would call a proven record of spectacular success. In a nutshell, it takes a lot of confidence to believe that for every failure you have, there will be a bigger win that comes out of it later.

You can read the full article here:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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