What does failure mean to you? Chances are the first thing you think of isn’t good. Standard definitions of failure include “omission of occurrence or performance” and “a lack of success”. Great twentieth failures include disasters like the space shuttle Challenger, Chernobyl and the Titanic. Lately, the expression “FAIL” has increasingly become the way to sum up almost any bad situation in a single syllable (an epic fail in my opinion).
In many corners of the business world, failure is not rewarded or encouraged. Failure can be expensive and if not managed, can damage a company’s reputation. It doesn’t support the short term, high performance expectations of the average publicly traded company. Of course, if you are an above average organization; one that has established a reputation as an innovative leader, failure is likely a valuable and necessary component of your continued success.
To most people, the name “Honda” probably suggests “cars”, but at it’s core, Honda is an engine company. Their engines drive cars, motorcycles, lawn equipment, watercraft, and jets (yes jets). They are also the only provider of engines to the Indy Racing League, but that honor was only achieved through some spectacular failures. Honda is one of those innovative companies that understands the importance of failing and learning from it. It’s baked into their culture. This company-produced film gives us an open and honest look at some failures from Honda drivers, designers and engineers and how they draw upon failure to motivate them to succeed.
So, do you view failure as an omission or an opportunity?
“If I didn’t fall down from time to time I’d never learn” – Ki Theory: Holiday Heart