Nicholas Langley

Our Failures

Better late than never.

I've always struggled to get words on paper or even on screens for that matter. Today I've challenged myself to do a weekly blog, touching on bits of tech, personal endeavours, challenges but generally life in a Generation Y start up.

I think the single most important thing in business and indeed life is learning from your mistakes. Trust me, I've made a lot but always manage to pick myself up and dust myself down. This I think is what has helped Langley Foxall to expand rapidly.

There are such things as 'Good Failures' or 'Intelligent Failures'

Mistakes teach us to accept our fallibility, they can also teach us to confront fears. Don't play the blame game. We try and instil a culture of non-blame at Langley Foxall and try to create a culture that is safe to admit and report on failure. In our organisational context this must coexist to achieve high standards of performance. Our team needs to understand why, look at the mistake in question and deliberate to advance as a unit.

There are such things as 'Good Failures' or 'Intelligent Failures', they're intelligent because they provide valuable new knowledge that can help us leap ahead of the competition and ensure future growth. They normally occur when experimentation is necessary - when answers are indeed unknown because this situation hasn’t been encountered before and perhaps never will be again. Designing and creating new innovative software is a task that always has required intelligent failures. “Trial and Error” is a common term for the kind of experimentation needed in these settings, but for this organisation this choice of words misnomer because the word 'error' implies that there was only one right outcome. The right kind of experimentation produces good failures quickly, this is why we experiment with code before we start any given project.

Perceptive managers should understand the risks of unrestrained toughness. Finding out about the problem and helping resolve it depends completely on your ability to learn about the problem. There should be a new paradigm, one that recognises the inevitability of failure in today’s complex work organisations. Those that indulge in the blame game will not succeed but those that try, catch, and learn from failure before others do, will succeed.