How to Really Learn from Failure

By Jane

How often have you been told that failure offers an opportunity to learn. That’s an easy thing to say, but it doesn’t recognise the emotional components of failure. Julian Birkinshaw and Martine Haas, in the May 2016 edition of the Harvard Business Review, talk about the following ways to embrace failure. The article looks at the organisational approach to managing failure, but I have adapted their recommendation for individuals.

Step 1: Learn from every failure

“When something doesn’t go as planned. It’s an opportunity to challenge your default beliefs and adjust accordingly”

Step 2: Share the lessons

Share what you have learnt with people that you trust. They will offer you insights and perspectives that you may be avoiding or have missed altogether.

Step 3: Review your pattern of failure

One you have got into the habit of genuinely reviewing your failures and sharing them with people you trust you will have built up a level of self awareness that will allow you to review this data for patterns. Look at these patterns and identify activities, thought processes or approaches that consistently lead to failure and change them as you go along.