Failing Quickly

When coaching  do we slow a players development and/or impose a false ceiling on their potential  by teaching and encouaging them to avoid failure?  

Whether  intentional or not, teaching players to avoid failure through our words, body language or actions, will hamper a players development. Players must understand failure is a necessary part of their improvement process and they will experience  it during the development process. It should not be viewed as making them some how inferior rather it is a sign they are moving in the right direction. 

As Pixar director Andrew Stanton, director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, describes this way of operating, “My strategy has always been: be wrong as fast as we can. Which basically means, we’re gonna screw up, let’s just admit that. Let’s not be afraid of that. But let’s do it as fast as we can so we can get to the answer. You can’t get to adulthood before you go through puberty. I won’t get it right the first time, but I will get it wrong really soon, really quickly.”

Failing quickly to learn fast is also a central operating principle for seasoned entrepreneurs who routinely describe their approach as failing forward. That is, entrepreneurs push ideas into the market as quickly as possible in order to learn from mistakes and failures that will point the way forward. This is an extremely well-known Silicon Valley operating principle. Howard Schultz’s experience building Starbucks illustrates the point. He and his colleagues had to try hundreds of ideas, on everything from nonstop opera music to baristas wearing bowties, to hundreds of different types of beverages before being able to define the Starbucks experience.

 Sims, Peter (2011-04-19). Little Bets (pp. 52-53). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

Avoidance of failure means avoiding reaching your fullest potential and often times the quickest way to reaching new levels of success is through failing quickly.

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