Tuesday, 1 October 2019

More on learning from success and failure

Here is a useful boston square on learning from success and failure




I blogged earlier this month about "Win or lose, you should always learn".  However the learning strategy you employ depends very much on whether you are in a fail-safe environment or whether (as in the Apollo 13 tagline) "Failure is not an option". 

There is a lot of praise on the internet for learning from mistakes, almost to the effect that  it seem that if you don't fail, you can't learn. Learning from mistakes is imperative for sure, but in some contexts, where mistakes are costly or fatal, they should be avoided at all costs. In these contexts the focus should be on learning from the experiences of others (both successful and unsuccessful) to eliminate your own mistakes as much as you can, and when you do eventually encounter the mistakes, to know how to recover quickly.. 

The Boston Square above breaks out these scenarios.

  1. In  failsafe environment, study carefully the root causes for your own success and failures (and those of others) to continuously improve and finally succeed. 
  2. When failure is not an option, study carefully the root causes for your own success and that of others, to avoid failing, and study even more carefully the root causes for failure of others, and the mitigations they used to address that failure, to minimise failing yourself and to recover quickly if you do.
I make the point about root cause - it is not enough to replicate the actions of others if you want to succeed; you need to understand the root causes behind success if you want to replicate it on your own context. 

For a final word on the matter, here's a quick video from Jack Ma.


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