godfather

A New Take on Bad Bosses

I wasn’t aware that failure was now a movement, rather than just a lack of success.

It grew out of the idea that we learn best not when we do well, but when we fail. As Heinrich Heine said, experience is a good school, but the fees are high.

The failure movement is founded on the expansively democratic idea that if each of us learns most when we fail, why not tell the world about it so that everyone can learn before they fail? Thus was born the Annual Failure Report.

These were started by Engineers Without Borders Canada, a nonprofit that specializes in international development. As we’re now reminded in Miami, engineering failure can have terrible consequences. For the past 11 years, EWBC has published a “failure report” alongside their regular annual report. As Ashley Good (@admitfailure), the report’s editor, told The New York Times, “I only let the best failures into the report.”

But exposing failure in the normal course of business isn’t limited to engineering. It happens with pilots and lawyers and doctors all the time. In fact, on Monday mornings in hospitals all over the world, surgeons gather for their weekly “morbidity and mortality meetings” where they call each other to account for medical disasters so they never happen again.

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