Fail fast. That doesn’t sound remarkably inspiring at all. However, think of the alternative: failing to take healthy risks that will improve our organizations.

In a recent strategy session for Studer Group, CFO George Ellis recommended that we be open to failure, as it’s one inevitable consequence of innovation and risk-taking. His point was to avoid the paralysis that comes when we pursue perfection too far; when our fear of failure prevents us from acting at all.

Planning “paralysis” that occurs in our K12 school systems:

  • An endless strategic planning process that gets bogged down by fear of making difficult decisions to direct the future of the organization
  • A leader avoiding the challenging process of responding to an employee’s poor performance
  • A classroom teacher who learns a new instructional strategy but hesitates to implement it, worried that it won’t work with his students

To avoid paralysis, George advised us all to “try, risk, attempt, explore, experiment.” Every time you fail, you learn. Every failure is a step towards success.

As leaders, we must face the fear of failure and move forward. Don’t let your desire for perfection prevent you from accomplishing great things for yourself, your students, employees, and communities.

Go for it: fail fast.

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