Failure is Part of Success

Embracing Failure

It’s been written about many times.  Some may think it’s rather radical and risky to tell your employees it’s ok to fail, to be brave and take risks.  I was one such thinker believing we couldn’t ever make a mistake petrified that we’d lose a client.  But over time, having now run our agency for 10 years, I see the value of allowing employees to have the freedom to learn, grow and through that experiment and push the boundaries in terms of their own skills and knowledge, and sometimes to fail.

We recently built a great looking website – good design, on trend and ticked all the boxes at the mock up stage.  We followed industry norms for the build process using WordPress with plug ins to achieve various transition and display effects.  And it functions correctly for all intense purposes but in terms of user experience it didn’t tick the box.  With the number of transitions and additional elements included in the code, the pages loaded way too slowly.  And slow in today’s age is like death to a website.

Initially I must admit I was annoyed – we’d spent time designing the site to an inch of perfection ensuring the content and flow were right so why had it failed on final delivery?  I challenged the web team to find a solution and fast because they were building more sites in the same way and we couldn’t afford to be rebuilding sites for speed all the time.

They rose to the challenge, brainstormed and came up with a multi-faceted approach.  They changed the entire way they work from software used to breaking apart each web developers role and finding a new way of working.  Now we’ve split front end dev from back end and run like a production line all working in sync.  It’s incredible to watch and how quickly they found their own successful rhythm gives me chills!  The next site they built using the new method went well and the one after even better.

The team were initially upset that I was unhappy with the first site being slow and some took it to heart.  But through the “failure” came many lessons learnt and ultimately our web team are now streamlined, working with the latest technology and build methods and flying!  They’re more excited about coming to work every day since finding their own way of working as a team without my involvement – I didn’t tell them what software to use or who does what.  They figured it out on their own.  Freedom, and allowing some space for your team to take risks and try and sometimes fail is ok. It’s all about what you do to fix the issue and move forward that counts.

We don’t plan to fail, but if we do it’s a learning curve that we will turn into a triumph.  Well done to our web team!


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