Building a Learning Culture that embraces Failure

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Every organisation has a culture. That culture has a framework. That framework is made up of shared values and principles.

Better organisations lay those values and principles down and have staff that imbibe that philosophy.

Exceptional organisations build a learning culture where staff thrive and failure is embraced (depending on the context).

Failure is all about context. Put simply, there are literally good and bad types:


Failure here is bad, but should be uncommon. Process is process – follow the process. Detecting failure here is hardly forensic. We are talking human error. You will not learn anything new. It may highlight a deviation, lack of ability or just plain incompetence! Unfortunately, failure here is blameworthy.


The ‘middle ground’ of failure. Process driven, but sprinkled with novel interactions that ‘Process’ can’t solve. Intuition and experience are key. But guess what? You can learn from this type! It separates the ‘men from the boys’. You will discover the real ‘stars’ within your organisation.


The holy ground. Every failure here is intelligent and rich with data. Call it a by product. But fail fast – no one wants unnecessary largesse. Conversely, failure here is praiseworthy.

Failure is a modern day paradox. To imbibe, invokes dissonance and yet without it, we remain poorer. Welcome to the winners’ enclosure.


I had to learn quickly, and the hard way, that what people term ‘failing’ has to be considered learning, and you need to embrace it. I also had to learn that if you are not feeling the emotion of failing, you are not trying enough new things or stretching yourself as far as you can. Joanne Lang, successful entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of AboutOne.

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