Celebrating failure and its importance

Fuckup Nights (fuckupnights.com) is a global movement born in Mexico in 2012 to publicly share business failure stories. Hundreds of people attend each event to hear three to four entrepreneurs share their failures. Each speaker is given 7 minutes and is able to use 10 images. After each speaker, there’s a question/answer session, as well as time for networking.

Talk about celebrating failure! What a way to learn, and what a way to demonstrate the value of shared learning.

I recently had a failure in a team-building workshop I ran for an organisation, but I learned some valuable lessons.

The organisation is a professional services consultancy and they’d brought in all their extended management team from the field to work together at HQ. With far too little research I assumed that a high performing team (HPT) workshop would be useful for the group. Three things I did wrong:

  • not enough research: they already had good team dynamics – it wasn’t a high value activity for them to have a HPT workshop;
  • when the group were talking about their backgrounds – part of the normal workshop – it’s always hard to control this because most people naturally like to talk about themselves – I realised they were pretty relaxed with themselves and everyone talked for too long. I needed to be tighter controlling the time…
  • with insufficient time left I dropped the most important part of the workshop – the discussion about how things were going to change as a result of lessons from the workshop…

So I’m writing this to remind myself:

  • Do the research beforehand – how well known are the attendees to one another?
  • Make someone responsible to timing – takes the pressure off the facilitator so I can listen and think
  • Drop anything except the call to action from the workshop!

… or expect a fuckup!


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