Every now and then I’m confronted with a manager who is profoundly against the idea of a team’s or individual’s right to fail. A few years ago, I’d be taken aback by such a stance and react in a very nonconstructive way. Today, with a some experience, desensitizing, professional distance and a lot of coaching, I simply ask the question : What’s the alternative?
If management’s overall message is “failing is not an option” or « no mistakes will be tolerated », two things will happen:1- The team will not fail
- Reality will be adjusted to expose success
- The team will successfully follow The Process
- The team do exactly what we tell them to do
- Conservatism will reign and rule
- Reality always happens. Even if you order it not to
- The Process will succeed but the solution will fail
- …because the team did exactly what we told them to do
- Complex problems requiring creative thinking will be conservatively patched
So I ask again…What’s the alternative?