Fail faster than your competition

This blog post explains why having a high failure rate leads to success. Well, you might be thinking: “You don’t ever want to fail in your job” but out-failing your competition actually leads to more profit for your company for several reasons. Most of the content is inspired by Law 21 from Steven Bartlett’s book The Diary of A CEO

Ice skating

The ones who learned how to ice skate when they were younger remember that the first thing they teach you is to fall. You have to fall a couple of times on the ice to become comfortable with falling. The same holds in business. You first have to learn how to fail to do your job properly. Now there are two kinds of failures. The main difference is that you can come back from one failure and you won’t be able to return from the other failure.

No failure, no story

As much as we would like to think failure comes easy. Humans are wired to expect to do everything right the first time. But how boring would that be? And more importantly, if you don’t fail, you won’t learn anything. In life, you learn from your mistakes. Thomas Watson the former president of IBM said:

Every time we moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put their head on the block, and try something new.

Furthermore, how can you discover what the customer wants if you don’t experiment? We live in a fast-paced world where the needs of the customers constantly change. No matter your industry, you have to keep up. And to keep up, you need to try multiple things to succeed. For example, when a company is building a ‘new app. They won’t build the app immediately. First, they will ask the customer what they want, then they build a prototype. Afterwards, they go into the testing phase where they have many iterations. Eventually, the prototype has become good enough to launch. Even after the launch, you need to update that app because they continue improving the software.

Failure is invention

There is a page in the book: Diary of a CEO. Jeff Bezos explains why a high failure rate is crucial for a business. “One area where I think we are especially distinctive is failure. Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment. The difference between baseball and business is that baseball has truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in a while, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1.000 runs. This long-tailed distribution of returns is why it’s important to be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiments.”

Are you curious about the other Laws in the book Diary of a CEO? Click here for my summary!

Source image: Unsplash, Getty Images

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