Sometimes failure is an option

I love TED Talks.  If you aren’t familiar with TED, I encourage you to learn more about this non-profit organization.  I noticed the other day on TED the following talk by former General Stanley McChrystal, and this really surprised me as I didn’t think former military leaders fit the profile nor the politics of your typical TED Talk presenter.  If you look at the comments, apparently a lot of people feel this way. However, regardless of your politics, I think this is a good talk on leadership in today’s world, and the difficulties that come with it:

I think why I appreciate this talk is that it addresses the issue of failure, and I believe that one of the major reasons many libraries don’t adapt to provide the best possible service to their users is because they are afraid to fail.  According to McChrystal, “leaders can let you fail, and yet not let you be a failure”.  I have worked in environments where failure was “not an option” and I have worked in environments where I was encouraged to try new things (and, if a new program or idea didn’t succeed, it was a learning experience for all, and not a personal failure).  What about you? What is your work environment like? Is failure acceptable?


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