Sunday, October 3, 2010

Defining Failure

I had a problem with my bank, Wells Fargo, last week that took way too may calls to fix (and it never did get resolved). Too many organizational and individual failures in this particular case. Organizations constantly need to be examining their definition and boundaries associated with failure. Provided below is a good start:
  • Design Failure - - If your product or service is badly designed, people don't understand it, don't purchase it or may even harm themselves when they use it, and you have failed.
  • Failure of Opportunity - - If your assets are poorly deployed, ignored or decaying, it's as if you are destroying them, and you have failed.
  • Failure of Trust - - If you waste stakeholders' goodwill and respect by taking shortcuts in exchange for short-term profit, you have failed.
  • Failure of Will - - If your organization prematurely abandons important work because of internal resistance or a temporary delay in market adoption, you have failed.
  • Failure of Priorities - - If your management team focuses on work that doesn't create value, that's like sending cash directly to your competitors, and you have failed.
  • Failure to Quit - - If your organizations sticks with mediocre ideas, facility or team too long because it lacks the guts to create something better, you have failed.
  • Failure of Respect - - If you succeed without treating your people, your customers and your resources with respect and honesty, you have failed.

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