Management Tip of the Day: Three failures to avoid

Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:36am EDT
 
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BOSTON (Reuters) - The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

Innovation experts have long argued that companies should be more tolerant of failure. But not all failure is created equally. Here are three types of failures that rarely contribute to learning and should be avoided whenever possible:

-- Knowingly doing the wrong thing. When a project falls apart because someone hid information or misled others, any learning is moot. Failure is only acceptable when the project was done with good intentions.

-- Failing to gather the right data. Often failure can be avoided by doing some simple research: asking target customers for input or testing an idea before launching it.

-- Prioritizing research over experience. Some things are unknowable without real-life experiments. Don't waste resources on researching a theory when you can create a prototype or conduct an experiment that will give you a more realistic answer.

 
<p>Businessmen are reflected in an electronic board displaying a downward arrow for the Nasdaq index outside a brokerage in Tokyo May 25, 2010. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>