To Increase Innovation, Take the Sting Out of Failure

Falling-Block-Tower“We need more innovation around here. We need people to think more creatively and be more entrepreneurial. I’ve been saying this for the last couple years, and yet very little seems to be changing. It’s very frustrating.”

This was a recent lament from a client, a senior leader at a medium-sized professional services firm. He was frustrated that even though his organization was encouraging people at every turn to take chances on new ideas, too few were actually stepping up to do it.

I pushed him a little further and asked him what he meant when he said he was “encouraging people at every turn to take chances.”

He explained that the need for innovation was a thread running through all communications these days. Senior leaders of the firm were relentlessly making the case that they needed to innovate or they’d lose their footing. They shared specific places where they’d missed market opportunities and were now playing catch up. A few more of these missteps, and they feared they’d lose their market leading position. The frustrating part was that, for the most part, people around the organization “got it” – yet behavior still didn’t change.

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Doug Sundheim

Doug Sundheim

Doug Sundheim is a consultant and executive coach with over 15 years of experience in growing businesses and helping others do the same. He works with leaders and teams of Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial firms to help them maximize their effectiveness. You can follow Doug on Twitter @DougSundheim and find out more about his services at

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