OMG! Is he serious!

We live in a world of motivation, entrepreneurship, competing and, definitely, winning. Negative thoughts are discouraged. The law of attraction is our daily mantra. Even using words like "losing", "failure" and  "underperformance" generate negative feelings and emotions, and, many believe, attract those elements into our lives.

FAILURE, FAILURE, FAILURE. There. I've said it and I await the wrath of the gods.

So why do I design team building workshops with a strong possibility of failure? Why do I get ecstatic when groups struggle and fall apart during an event? Why are the losers more important to me than the winners?


As much as we would like our reality to be that we never lose, fail or underperform at anything, the world just doesn't work like that. In a team building workshop, it truly is "not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game".  The greatest lessons in leadership and team cohesiveness occur when things are not going well. Does the team realize the need to change directions? Does the designated leader understand when to admit that there is a need to shift strategies? Is the leader courageous enough to admit mistakes? Will the team work in order to shift direction fluidly and without judgment of feelings of regret?

This is where failure can be empowering. Benefiting from failure is a three step process.

First, spot the error and let it go. Don't let pride, embarrassment or fear of appearing weak make you hang on to the original plan too long. Admit quickly when a strategy is not working and change it immediately.

Second, start from NOW. No regrets. No recriminations. No Monday morning quarterbacking. You're not looking backwards, only forwards. There is no way to go back and redo the past, so visiting there is a waste of time. From the moment the error is admitted, it's a whole new game. Start from NOW.

And finally, be prepared to fail again. Many times when a company or individual goes through the failure-regroup process, they relax into the new strategy and assume it is going to work. Having failed before, they are usually hesitant to go back to that painful place of admitting failure again. If there is a second failure, believe it or not, a group is even less likely to admit it the second time.

So whether in business or personal pursuits, embrace the power of failure. Embrace it briefly, and then make the moves necessary to move away from it. Just as in poker, fold often and fold early. The next shuffle may just give you that royal flush.