Fear of Failure– Atychiphobia– Leadership is the Courage-Permission to Fail: Failure is Merely a Pit-Stop to Success…

Fear of failure (or atychiphobia or even more of a tongue-twister  kakorraphiaphobia) is a condition that many organizations suffer, although they probably won’t acknowledge it… and many executives probably can’t even pronounce it… It’s an ailment that’s serious enough to affect the long-term survival of many organizations…

Atychiphobia (or fear of failure) is not just a fear of failure but an irrational fear of literally everything… it can terrorize an organization so strongly that leadership will refuse to do anything without absolute assurance of success…

According to Regina Dugan; when you remove the fear of failure– impossible things suddenly become possible… the reality is that we cannot fear failure and still do ‘amazing’ new things… In business, failure comes with the territory– and if you are going to– build, grow, create, innovate… or solve serious problems… you eventually fail at some things… but its imperative that you continue, even  knowing that, in many situations, you will probably have a high likelihood of failure… but you learn from the– mistakes, lessons, experiences…  such that they can be applied elsewhere for success…

According to Thomas Watson, Sr.; the fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate… A business cannot develop breakthrough– products, processes… if it’s not willing to encourage risk-taking (possible failure) and learn from subsequent mistakes…

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There is a growing acceptance of failure and it’s changing the way companies approach innovation… According to Robert Shapiro; failure-tolerant leaders, don’t just accept failure; they encourage it… First and foremost though, failure-tolerant leaders encourage people to see beyond the simplistic traditional definitions of failure, i.e., viewing failure as the opposite of success, rather than its complement… a person with this mind-set will never be able to take the risks necessary for innovation…

Although failures are inevitable when launching risk-based initiatives; management cannot abdicate its responsibility to assess the nature of the failures. Some are excusable errors; others are simply the result of sloppiness… Failure-tolerant leaders will identify excusable mistakes and approach them as outcomes to be examined, understood, and built upon…

According to Alison Provost; ideas don’t have to be perfect before you take them to the marketplace. In fact, the true process of innovation is the opposite of that; it’s a process of iteration– first conceive it, build it, try it– it fails… adjust it, try it– it fails again but its better… adjust it, try it, and now its even better… It’s a process of failure and success…  and  the fundamental nature of innovation and creativity– moving in incremental bits to something that’s market ready, market worthy…

It takes courage in leadership to face failures, and it’s often one of the best ways to learn life’s lessons– especially leadership lessons… We can (and should) learn much from failure… but, failure is only valuable if we face it, milk it… for all we can learn, than get-up, and lead again (maybe even fail again)… it takes real courage to face failure.

In the article Learn From Mistakes by Prasad Sangameshwaran writes: Most businesses only pay lip-service to the notion of learning from mistakes. When the cost of failure is high (and it usually is, especially when dealing with important projects), organizations can be notoriously unforgiving… According to Anil Thomas; the secret to success is failure and increasingly organizations are getting to realizing it… The best way to overcome fear of failure is to create an environment of learning within the organization…

Empowering all employees to take risks and when failure occurs, and it will, be prepared and don’t treat it like the end of the world… Learn from mistakes and move on… According to Raj Bowen; companies take risks and sometimes failure is only apparent after investments of time, money have already been made… understandably it’s very difficult for a company to adopt a laissez-faire attitude under such circumstances but, nevertheless, it must make that effort, because failure in the short-term means greater success in the long-term…

According to K Ramkumar; senior leaders need to back creative initiatives, strongly, and be persistent with new ideas… and making mistakes, failing… is understandable, but repeating the same mistakes over and over is not acceptable… According to James M Kouzes and Barry Z Posner; not everyone is equally comfortable with –risk, uncertainty, failure… so leaders must understand the capacity-ability of their constituents to take responsibility-control of challenging situations– leaders cannot exhort some people to take certain types of risks when they don’t have the capacity-ability to deal with failure.

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In the article Conquer Fear of Failure by Robert Kelsey writes: Fear of failure is driven not so much by fear of actual failure, but by the fear of humiliation resulting from failure, and that drives behavior… Indeed, fear of failure may be a far bigger driver of people’s actions, in business, than greed or ambition… According to Judson S. Brown; what people avoid is just as important as what people strive to acquire– for example; due to fear, rather than making money, many people avoid the risks involved in making money… It isn’t so much seeking success, but more of avoiding failure that drivers some business decisions– being defense rather than offense…

Yet fear can occupy both ends of the behavioral spectrum. At one end is the obvious reaction to fear; paralysis– we delay decisions until the opportunity is lost, perhaps looking (and inevitably finding) that tiny flaw justifying a decision to opt-out… Nothing’s been lost but, significantly, nothing’s been gained, which can lead to the other end of the behavioral spectrum; impetuous and poorly judged decision-making, i.e., ballsy ‘do-or-die’ decisions that may also be a result of fear-driven avoidance… despite the fact that it may look like a confidence-driven, strong judgment decision…

Of course plenty of the high-risk gambit might work out, which can lead to further problematic behavior, including hubris, which potentially masks deep-down feelings of undeserved success...

In the article Surviving, Thriving in Face of Failure by Elizabeth Freedman writes: Failure isn’t always pretty and you often hear the phrase; ‘failure is a great learning experience’… but, it’s one thing to intellectually know that failure is OK, and quite another to really feel that it’s OK…

Sometimes failing at something is nature’s way of telling us to get a clue about ourselves. We’d be foolish if we didn’t try to understand why we failed at something, or listened to helpful feedback that truly can help us improve… But some of us have a hard time hearing criticism of any kind, which can really impede success… There are countless people who– got brutal criticism, were fired, lost deals… but continued unabated anyway…

The moral of the story? We need to listen to messages of criticism, failure… but also review your own plan… and above all continue to be persistent… Sure, it’s tough to keep going when the going gets tough… Ask any marathoner, successful entrepreneur, or anyone else who has opted to stay in the race even though they had good reasons to quit.

The truth is that for intelligent risk-takers, the bold road will offer its share of rejections and failures, and there will always be an ‘acceptable’ reason to quit… After all, most people aren’t risk-takers, so the fact that you’re willing to ride out the rejections and failures may be tough for people to understand. But as long as you understand why your goals matters to you, persistence will come naturally, at least most of the time…

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In the article Fail The Way To Amazing Things by Ekaterina Walter writes: Failure; that’s a scary word, isn’t it? What is failure? Really? This question always fascinated me… So I talked to people about it, trying to understand what failure meant to them, what role it played in their lives… And, what I found was profoundly simple: The definition of failure is shaped by three things; passion, purpose, attitude…

Passion fuels everything in life: our energy, our ambitions, who we want to be. It fuels our actions. It shaped the lens through which we see the world… Our passion shapes our purpose, and the two in combination– passion and purpose– affect our attitude… At that point you know no failure, you accept no failure, but only the path that gets you to your goal… Are their times when you are frustrated? Absolutely. Are their times when taking a wrong path sets you back. Yes! But you keep on going, doing what truly matters to you…

And that’s when failure becomes non-existent… For example: Henry Ford went broke five times before finally succeeding… Beethoven was proclaimed by his teacher as hopeless as a composer… Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas and creativity… Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and his teacher described him as ‘mentally slow’… The Beatles were rejected by many music labels… Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team… Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade…  However, most people can deal with failure but it’s the doubts that kill more dreams that failure ever will… If you don’t try to build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs… True failure is– not to try at all…

Failure is an inevitable part of business and its important to understand that failure is not fatal, but rather an opportunity to try again… and by the lessons of failure you are than armed with better information to succeed… According to Napoleon Hill; every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit… Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent… Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb…

Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts… Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent… No one is going to be successful at everything they try to achieve. But every failure is a chance to learn something new about how to do things differently, the next time. Success takes more than simply falling down and getting back up again: Success is getting back-up because you failed; in other words, being able to gain a new strength from each failure until they accumulate into a critical-level of persistence and determination…

According to Darren Hanson; there is no such thing as a journey unmarked by setbacks, hurdles and unexpected events. It’s how a business copes with obstacles that ultimately dictate its ability not only to survive, but to thrive in changing environment… According to Acadia; we all know of great leaders who achieve a small success than bottom out, yet overcome a host of serious setbacks, then fight their way back until they’re on top again, and that inspires the entire world…

For example; Steve Jobs was fired from the company he started… Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, labeled a traitor to his country and considered a dangerous insurgent… Abraham Lincoln was hated by many, had mental collapse, and lost eight elections… We all love comeback stories and believe that we too can do the same if placed in a similar situation…

However, those who do succeed, do so for very good reasons… for example; they understand the existing conditions of the situation, they have supreme confidence in their abilities to meet the challenges… most important they have persistence, determination to succeed. Winston Churchill once said; success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm…