Failure: The Secret to Success

The state of the newspaper industry isn’t great. Last night I’ve watched a story about the possible shutting down of the Boston globe. From The Washington Post: “The paper’s circulation dropped 14 percent in the most recent six-month period. The Globe is expected to lose $85 million this year, the company says.” Sad as this is for employees and founders I find it hard to believe there wasn’t any plan in place for this situation. I mean, the internet is 10 years old and it really didn’t take a genius to figure out that one day our reading habits and the way we consume our news will change.

The employees and founders of the Boston Globe and N.Y times are smart, dedicated and powerful people so how come they are losing? every company has a policy to succeed but only few companies realise that you can’t succeed without failing first. A company that encourage it’s people to try new things will be better prepared to turn any possible threat into an opportunity.

Some people will say this is risky. That it’s safer to go with what you know, the “tried and tested”. Is it? This is exactly what the Boston Globe thought. And it’s not only them. Take the automotive industry that now begs to be saved. Didn’t they kill the electric car 20 years ago? Goodbye GM, welcome Tesla. Guess karma needs to be a subject in business school. Same goes for the banking industry.

Yes, it is not popular, risky, hard and complicated to start thinking about change. But it beats pay cuts and unemployment. In a situation when nothing is certain the best thing we can do is to put resources to deal with this uncertainty and expect life and business to come with failures, lessons and successes. Here’s some great lessons from Honda:


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