Why You Should Encourage Employees to Fail

Inspire your staff to embrace innovation by letting them make mistakes says Seth Godin

Written by Seth Godin

Before he became a marketing and business strategy guru Seth Godin was just another entrepreneur trying to turn his ideas into a successful company. He succeeded—Godin’s Yoyodyne sold to Yahoo! in 1998 for eight figures. The author of What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always your Turn) on inspiring employees to embrace innovation.

If a company wants innovation, it should stop giving “employee of the month” awards to people who haven’t failed. When I was running one of my companies, I realized one of my senior managers hadn’t made a significant error in three months.

I took him aside and said, “Look, you know we have a meeting every Friday. I’m giving you 10 days’ notice. If you haven’t made a significant mistake in 10 days, I’m going to stand up at the weekly meeting and fire you in front of everyone.” And he knew I meant it.

Because if senior management starts shunning the people who never make a mistake, then what you’re doing is rewiring your staff’s entire understanding of fear. If you’re constantly amplifying, honouring and celebrating people who make good mistakes, you should be afraid to not make mistakes.

This article is from the How To package from the August 2015 issue of Canadian BusinessSubscribe now!


Do you agree? Do you encourage your employees to fail? Share your mistake managingstrategies using the comments section below.

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