If there is one thing that both college professors and college students have in common, is that they both hate to fail. Professors never want to see their students fail. And students fear failing on many levels.
But failure is a necessary part of success.
In my sales classes, I showed a short video clip of Tom Peters sharing his favorite slide from his huge slide deck. It reads:
Fail. Forward. Fast.
(“Reward Excellent Failures, Punish Mediocre Successes.”)
Nobody wins by playing it safe.
Nobody learns either.
Woody cut his creative teeth during the Golden Age of Television writing for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows.”
Woody learned “if you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
When I was growing up, the radio dial was a cornucopia of innovation.
Every radio station was original and unique.
Sunset would open up the skywave for AM radio listening and I would tune in great radio stations like WKBW from Buffalo, WLS & WCFL from Chicago, CKLW from Windsor-Ontario, Canada and many, many more.
Each of them was unique, a part of their community and provided great companionship.
Then radio began to copy one another.
Imitation, while maybe the sincerest form of flattery, lacks innovation.
With the passage of the Telcom Act of 1996, the radio industry began to rapidly consolidate.
The concept of “Best Practices” would further stifle experimentation and failure by trying to lay a safe, secure foundation for every radio station in these expanding companies to follow.
The new publicly funded corporations quickly learned that funding, not innovation was the way to grow larger. Money gets invested in business models that are familiar.
That’s why the movie industry cranks out so many sequels when they find a hit film.
Failure leads to Innovation
Thomas Edison when asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times inventing his light bulb responded “I didn’t fail 1, 000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Walt Disney is said to have gone bankrupt a couple of times before he became a successful innovator.
In other words, we can learn, grow and become better from our failures.
Radio’s New Heroes’
I’m confident that new blood is flowing into the radio industry that will quickly discard things that aren’t working, try new ideas, innovate and fail, forward, fast.
“Everything in life brings risk.
It’s true that you risk failure if you try something bold
because you might miss it.
But you also risk failure if you stand still and don’t try anything new.”
-John C. Maxwell
One response to “Fail. Forward. Fast.”
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