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Zero Failure is Not an Option

A window into the soul of successful teams.

For anyone who has been around a budding teenager, you know this is a big opportunity for, shall we say, "deep learning". One of the terms that we personally learned from one said teenager (Marc's son) was "epic fail". Given the choice of 4 letter word options, this could have been way worse. But we actually like the idea of failure as something that can be thought of as heroic in nature.

Failure is a gut check

If you look up the definition of failure you will first see "lack of success" but just around the corner is one that deserves some more attention: "the omission of expected or required action". At first, you might ask "Why is that definition any better?" Well, while it may seem that leaving out specific required actions is bad (and it certainly can be - shout out to all our legal, regulatory, and other colleagues who keep the more "inventive" of us in check), it also gives us a chance to pause and ask why we are taking certain actions in the first place. This gut check can be an important step in the creative process.

There is no "I "in success

But there is in failure! And that's a good thing - because it is up to each one of us, as individuals, to take calculated risks. No one is going to convince us other than ourselves and without failure, there is no learning. Yes, we have heard that a million times but for so many reasons - it is true. If it's good enough for Sugar Ray, then who are we to argue?

No success without failure

You may wonder what this has to do with connected, vital teams. A team that does not feel ok to "fail", let alone celebrate those attempts, is probably one that is not performing to its true potential. It's not that hard to find one leadership book after another touting both the importance of taking risks and the risk of never failing as a sure sign you're probably not trying hard enough.

Improv without failure is just routine

Don't like to admit failure? No problem! We here at VitalConex are all about solutions. Simply state the not-so-obvious: "I was improvising!" Improvisationalists and stand-up comedians (especially) fail - all the time. Ever think “I think he’s crazy”, “she’s delusional” or “I’m not really sure what they're thinking?" Welcome to improv where failure is a needed step to iterate and continue to create. Also, a little secret - it sometimes feels a lot more invigorating to try things and fail, especially when the stakes are not that high.

Acceptance of failure is a true test of psychological safety

The whole reason we insist that the team connectivity piece of what we do is so critical before the ideation piece is because we know - from experience and studies - that the safer a team feels with each other, the more open they are to ideas. And we also understand that most ideas will "fail" which is good! Get a team that embraces failure as a core trait of who they are together and you are on your way to one gorgeous ensemble that produces, connects, and has fun in the process.

The VITAL5 ROUNDUP– Zero Failure is Not an Option

  1. The Gut test - sometimes we fail because we just don't accept the norms. Why not? Your gut may be telling you something important.

  2. The I in Failure - take a calculated risk and be the individual that learns something, shares it, and changes the team for the better.

  3. Failure is a success - just marveling over one victory after another - what are you and your team avoiding that would make it truly exceptional?

  4. Failing is the new innovation - the best innovators know improvisation is a super tool and improvisation is permission to try, whether that fails or succeeds. So what are you waiting for?

  5. The litmus test - when you're part of a team where it really is ok to fail you'll never want to leave - and, you'll all be successful, too.

VitalConex is a connect-and-create company. To learn more about the "peanut butter cup" of successful teams, check us out at

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