For Each Success there must be failures
Back in 2009 I signed a contract with an automated shipping supplier based on the recommendation of our ERP provider at the time. This shipping company could not deliver for us, however, and we had to take a $60,000+. It was a mistake. A failure based on inadequate research and perhaps being a little too trusting.
In last week’s blog post I mentioned how our success is due in large part to innovation. But it is also very important to realize that for every success we have had many failures. If I had to define my job in three words it would be “to fail often”.
Many new products will fail
Many, if not most new products introduced to market will fail. However if we hadn’t kept on trying we would not have launched our successful lines over the past years. This is very much like baseball. If you succeed over 30% of the time in baseball, you are doing well. Even when a player bats somewhat lower, if all of those hits were home runs, s/he would be ranked as an excellent hitter.
In our business, chances have to be taken. Sometimes the success of a product is dependent entirely on timing: it connects with people at the right time and simply takes off. But to fly you have to try.
New ideas: Some succeed, some fail. All should be tried
We are confident in the ability of our people to work this way because they are performing tasks they know well and have done many times, they have been well trained, and they have been hired based on a specific match between employee and task.
Obviously it is of topmost importance that the orders we fill and ship are error-free, since reputations are on the line: ours and those of our customers.
But having a low tolerance for errors on the job is not the same things as being intolerant of errors and mistakes when seeking to improve or innovate. Not all mistakes are bad. Mistakes can be good as long as you are venturing out into the unknown, beyond outside of your comfort zone. It’s not important how many ideas are bad or how many may seem stupid.
As I said, most of my ideas are bad. All that matters is the one idea that is good.
I want to hear all the ideas from my team at Qualifirst, the ones that seem good and the ones that seem bad, because I know in both cases that it’s the first step towards finding that next good idea.
This is why I have opened up the lines of communication even further to invite my staff to send me their ideas, since these will be critical to our success.
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government.”
― Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t
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