Stop Stigmatizing Failure

Elon Musk announced today that the best thing for the success of Tesla is to take the company private. I could not agree more.

Read the Wall Street Journal Report

You may recall the famous Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson on the state of education where he contents in his 19 minute talk that as a society we tend to educate our children out of creativity. All children are born creative and artists, he says, but our education system works very hard to steal that away from them. Robinson says, “We can only be innovative if we risk failure.” However, we don’t like to see our children fail. We have created a culture where failure is not an option. So logically, risk taking is not an option as well.

Watch Sir Ken’s famous Ted Talk from 2006

Today few could argue Elon Musk’s creativity, big thinking, and willingness to take risks, but with the stigma that comes along with the potential of failing, it becomes a rough road for Tesla being a public company. There are too many to scrutinize its every move, demoralizing its people and the culture that thrives on Musk’s creativity.

In my experience, I have seen far too many organizational cultures where the stigma that comes with failure limits their potential for growth. I am reminded of the old saying, “Behold the turtle, he only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” Agility is the ability to adjust, learn, and bounce back from any set back; then put those learnings into practise.

If we truly want to reach that next level of success, we need to adapt an agile mindset, take risks, and embrace failure.

I suspect that compared to the dinosaurs that Musk and Tesla compete against, they are agile enough to eventually come out on top.