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Leadership Fail: Washington Metro System Failed to Learn From Accidents, Report Finds

Leadership Fail: Washington Metro System Failed to Learn From Accidents, Report Finds | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the subway system had made “little or no progress” toward instituting a culture of safety.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

More on the mismanagement and the cautionary tale of failed leadership of the failing D.C. Metro, once a shining example of mass transit in Washington DC.

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Failure as Strength - The power of Failure for Innovation & Learning from Defeat

Failure as Strength - The power of Failure for Innovation & Learning from Defeat | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

It’s really hard to talk about failure. The "Admitting Failure" website, connected to engineering failure stories at its creation, hopes to change that. 

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...acknowledging failure is often a catalyst for innovation... 
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It is painful for civil society organizations to acknowledge when we don’t meet our goals and objectives...   The paradox is that we do everything we can to avoid these pains even though we all know failure is the best teacher and we have to be open and talk about our failures in order to learn. ....acknowledging failure is often a catalyst for innovation that takes our work from good to great.
    

To address this conundrum we need a paradigm shift in how civil society views failure.  We think this starts with open and honest dialogue about what is working and what isn’t so Admitting Failure exists to support and encourage organizations to (not surprisingly) admit failure.
 

ad·mit   /ədˈmit/
verb: 
1. To concede as true or valid <admit responsibility for a failure>
2. To allow entry <admit failure into the organization, allowing a safe space for dialogue>
 

Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning underground and hinders innovation.
    
No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about their failures because the only truly “bad” failure is one that’s repeated.
   
Related posts by Deb on Learning and Failure:
   

   
   
    

 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

"To begin again, this time more intelligently" is exactly why embracing failure is important to building high performing teams and to high performance cultures that truly support learning, adaptation and change.  For that reason, this innovative website is referenced on several websites, including an Oprah.com blog post about "What to Do When You're Feeling Defeated."   

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) set up this website to encourage aid workers to share their mistakes—and to kickstart future success, and then some.

After allowing for the process of accepting defeat, realize defeat and crisis can transform us, renew us, and provide a different perspective.  I may be the transformative feedback we need and have been missing.
  
~  Deb 

Reference:  Tracking the Defining Moments of Crisis Process and Practice by Amisha Mehta, , Robina Xavier. Public Relations Review, Volume 38, Issue 3, September 2012, Pages 376–382, Available online 29 December 2011

 

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Kristin Newton's curator insight, May 4, 2015 1:58 AM
Starting over fresh, with new wisdom, can be a gift in disguise.
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What Nassim Taleb Misses About Technology and Innovation

What Nassim Taleb Misses About Technology and Innovation | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"What Nassim Taleb misses about technology and innovation is that its purpose is not to entertain the delicate tastes of the chattering classes, but to improve the lives of us all.  ...What’s more, most of technology’s black swans are positive ones."


Excerpts: The Usefulness Of Useless Things


What Mr. Taleb fails to understand is that technologists are supremely aware that most of their efforts will come to nothing


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What, I wonder, would Mr. Taleb make of Edison’s 9,999th try?  

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...They are, in fact, searching out black swans (to use Mr. Taleb’s own parlance), in full knowledge that they will spend most of their time rushing up blind alleys.  


What, I wonder, would Mr. Taleb make of Edison’s 9,999th try?

The truth is that useless things often end up very useful indeed.  Modern information technology did not originate with engineers, but has its roots in an obscure academic crisis, whose major figures, such as Cantor, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Gödel and others never dreamed that their work would have important practical consequences.


...What Mr. Taleb seems to miss is that these are ...people dedicated to following their dreams and willing to put their own skin in the game to do so.


What’s more, most of technology’s black swans are positive ones. 

As [Greg Satell] recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Innovation is a particularly sticky problem because it so often remains undefined.”  You can’t simply focus on the technologies that are sure bets, but must take into account the entire matrix (pictured in the article, four quadrants.)

 

... the logical consequence of his argument) is that we should remain in the upper right quadrant, where both the problem and the domain are well defined and he would presumably assign the lowest value on basic research and disruptive innovation, which have no clear applicability.


Yet it is there that we break truly new ground.


Other antifragile Scoops:

    

         
         

    Deb's related posts:

         

        


    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

    This is a follow-up on the "Anti-Fragile" post below.  The author discusses failure is an important part of the process leading to success, as author Greg Satell explains via the nature of innovation.  


    This seems to be a worthy new perspective and critique of Taleb's work, also listed in our Innovation and Institutions curation stream.  ~  Deb

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    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, April 28, 2013 11:25 AM

    I've shared news about Taleb's perspective on Change Leadership Watch. It's now paired with this innovation perspective about the place of failure! a compelling view.  ~ D

    Bill LeGray's comment, April 29, 2013 11:26 AM
    Good thoughts verey deeply buried within the Social Media mileau. BUT not so deep I will not try to follow the Change Leadership Watch, and other excellent Forums provided by Scoop It. In fact, while quite broad, the entire Innovatioon and Institutions stream may be worth a look now and then. Deb; "Thanks for leading the way for creativity, process changes, and obtaining "better" innovations and institutions with more properly responsive institutional outcomes."
    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, April 30, 2013 3:37 PM
    Thanks for the comment Bill. Best to you.
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    Trending Down for years: Yahoo Investors Need to Worry About Marissa Mayer

    Trending Down for years:  Yahoo Investors Need to Worry About Marissa Mayer | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

    "By fighting trends, like telecommuting, Ms. Mayer's focus on tactics further damages Yahoo - which desperately needs a CEO with vision to create a new strategy."


    Excerpts:


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    Yahoo has been a struggling company for several years
    .

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    ...Yahoo has lacked an effective strategy for a decade.  ..It has no technology advantage, no product advantage and no market advantage.  It is so weak in all markets that its only value has been as a second competitor that keeps the market leader from being attacked as a monopolist!


    A series of CEOs have been unable to develop a new strategy for Yahoo to make it more like Amazon or Apple and less like – well, Yahoo. 


    ...Ms. Mayer was brought into the flailing company from Google, which is a market leader, to turn around Yahoo.  But she’s been on the job 7 months, and there still is no apparent strategy to return Yahoo to greatness.


    Related posts by Deb:


         

       


    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

    Yahoo's spotlight in the news seems to now be a cautionary tale about how not to change. 


    Mayer's success at Google seems as if it is not translating into vision and right action (first steps), even after 7 months, at Yahoo.

    Leadership IS about followers and inspiration to adapt.  Yahoo seems to have chosen conventional communication (email) as well as traditional management techniques in a company that seems more and more old school in adapting to change. 


    If nothing else, Yahoo, note, the medium is the message, a quote from Marshall McLuhan.

    ~  Deb 

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    Corporate Culture Change: G.M.’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100 - Auto Recalls Hits Record in 2014

    Corporate Culture Change: G.M.’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100 - Auto Recalls Hits Record in 2014 | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

    "The ignition-switch crisis is cementing G.M.'s status as one of the deadliest automotive safety issues in American history."


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    GM's...internal investigation showed that dozens of engineers, lawyers and investigators had known about ignition problems for years but failed to fix them.

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    The GM ignition switch has gained notoriety because the defect was essentially hidden for a decade until G.M. began recalling 2.6 million affected cars last year.

           

    ...G.M. set up the compensation fund last year after its internal investigation showed that dozens of engineers, lawyers and investigators inside the company had known about ignition problems for years but failed to fix them.

             

    Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, dismissed 15 employees as a result of the internal inquiry, overhauled the automaker’s vast engineering operations and changed its safety protocols.

       

    From another New York Times article, "Over 62 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States [in 2014], the highest total ever."


    Photo:  Kenneth Feinberg, an independent compensation expert hired by G.M., has made settlement offers to the families of people who died. Credit - Drew Angerer for The New York Times

       

    Related posts by Deb on Learning and Failure:
         

        
        
    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

    A sad, instructive cautionary tale from G.M. updated with the newest information as of May 2015.  From another article from the New York Times in ongoing coverage,  “G.M.'s decision-making, structure, process and corporate culture stood in the way of safety.”  ~ D

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    Entrepreneurs Reframe Failure as Intentional Iteration - Adapt the Idea & Live?

    Entrepreneurs Reframe Failure as Intentional Iteration - Adapt the Idea & Live? | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

    Failure.  It’s a harsh word.  No one enjoys failure.  No one ever really says, “Hey, I really want to fail today so I can learn.”  

    Yet failure is an inevitable part of human existence and it plays a central role in the mindset of an entrepreneur.  Without failure there is little forward progress; without failure innovation is rather incremental; without failure there is no reason to celebrate success.

    Entrepreneurs are taught to embrace and expect failure because the entrepreneurial path is rarely smooth or predictable.  Failure in this context, however, is not business failure.  Who wants that?  The fear of business failure paralyzes even the best potential entrepreneurs. 

    Failure in the entrepreneurial vernacular is reframed as intentional iteration and experimentation.  It’s not failure in the catastrophic sense.  Failure is simply a portfolio of setbacks, false starts, wrong turns, and mistakes that are expected and tolerated because the entrepreneur purposefully iterates in order to gather new, relevant, and timely information. 


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    There is one fundamental truth in entrepreneurship.  All ideas change.

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    Through iteration entrepreneurs seek not to kill an idea but to make it better, and this happens through an anticipated cycle of pivoting and adapting.
     


    There is one fundamental truth in entrepreneurship.  All ideas change.

    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

    Failure vs. Iteration?  Yes, makes sense to me.


    However,  I just attended an interdisciplinary lecture by Professor Howard E. Aldrich referencing his paper, Lost In Translation: Celebrating Entrepreneurship While Acknowledging Its Costs.  I was stymied that he was posing this question at the end of his lecture as a policy question:  Too many entrepreneurs or too many failures?

    His line of thinking is based on the high 5 year failure rate, 50%, of entrepreneurial businesses.    In my own town, the Ann Arbor Observer monthly journal posts a success / failure rate of local businesses in its business roundup.


    A student asked, at the end of the lecture, "Too many marriages or too many divorces?"   His question gets closer to the gist of the curious framing of professor Aldrich's work.  


    Aldrich offers that his research includes that entrepreneurs try a business idea once, and if the business fails, they do not try again.   Really?   I don't see this line of research ~ fail once and that's it ~ mentioned in the companion article for the ICOS lecture that was held at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.  I will look into this further in due time.  If you have a resource, please share!  ~  Deb


    Reference:    http://icos.umich.edu/sites/icos6.cms.si.umich.edu/files/lectures/SEJ%20lost%20in%20translation.pdf 

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    The End of "Results Only" at Best Buy, Theory X Returns?

    The End of "Results Only" at Best Buy, Theory X Returns? | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

    "Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly axes flexible work. the original "Results-Only Work Environment" and why it is worse news than Yahoo's remote-worker roundup."  

    That is, if this Theory X style change ends up being  judged as short-sighted leadership decision.


    Excerpts via Professor Monique Valcour's post :


    Best Buy's flexible work program is ...the groundbreaking Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), one of the most innovative and celebrated examples of a company redesigning work to focus on results and boost performance through motivation-enhancing trust and autonomy.

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    "In a turnaround transformation, you need to feel disposable as opposed to indispensable."


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    The ROWE method has since been implemented in more than 40 companies.


    The culture of work-life support in a company is the most powerful predictor of employee work-life balance as well as a key element in job performance, organizational commitment, and intention to remain with the company.

    But top management exerts the strongest influence on culture...



    CEO Joly made a very revealing comment following an investors' meeting in November.


    • "In a turnaround transformation, you need to feel disposable as opposed to indispensable." 

    • He is far from the only "Theory X" leader who believes that stressing employees makes them perform better. 

    • This underlying belief persists despite enormous research evidence to the contrary ...

    Related posts by Deb:
       
    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:
    • This provocative piece on ending flex work arrangements provides YIN to the YANG of change leadership watch.  We can watch to see what happens next at Best Buy on how effective this is in turning things around or, perhaps putting an end to things.  ~  D
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    Robin Martin's curator insight, March 9, 2013 5:31 PM

    Bad move. We shall see!

    Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, March 9, 2013 11:19 PM
    Indeed, Robin. Science is not on their side, CEOs Joly & Mayer.
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    Intuit's Scott Cook on Failed Global Expansion: 'We Should've Known Better' [VIDEO]

    Intuit's Scott Cook on Failed Global Expansion: 'We Should've Known Better' [VIDEO] | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

    Intuit founder Scott Cook and what went wrong the first time they rolled out the company's Quicken tax prep software worldwide.


    It would see cultural due diligence was the lesson learned here.  

    ______________________________

       

    We can launch,  ....but then the sales slowed way down.  

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    Yes, it seems it was a ethnocentric blind spot.  Paraphrased:  ONLY in the US did we studying the customer & give them exactly what they wanted.  We didn't do that overseas.  

        

    Excerpted:

       

    We'd get meetings of our global teams together…  We could launch, could get the press, we could fill the channel, we'd get initial evidence.

       

    But then the sales slowed way down.   

       

    Visiting the Japanese:  150 people crammed into the biggest room we had.   Strategy, plan, dream.  He asked for questions.  In Japan, they don't ask questions of the big guy.  Silence.

       

    One engineer, finally, cautiously raised his hand:  Why does our product for Japan look just like an American product?  It was built for Americans, not Japanese.   …And he was right.  Ultimately the root cause problem was too hard to overcome.

       

    The root cause was baked into our early decision.   …We build them based on what we knew in the U.S.

       

    See the full video here.

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