As a youngster, one of the things I learned early on was that winning and losing was a natural part of any game I played, be it baseball, football, hockey, Monopoly, cards, you name it. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Nobody likes to lose, but as I have written in the past, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you have tried your best, but still failed. In fact, I have more respect for the person who valiantly tried and lost, as opposed to the person who won by cutthroat tactics.
The point is, failure is a natural part of life and an inherent property of evolution (see Charles Darwin). It is a strong message telling us that what we are doing is not working, and we can either learn from it and change or ignore it and perish. It's nice to have a safety net, but where would we be if nobody took a risk? Without failure, life stagnates. We cannot make progress if we are not allowed to fail. Entrepreneurs, adventurers, and other Type A personalities understand in any venture there is a certain element of risk, whereby they will either reap the rewards of success, or taste the agony of defeat. They weigh the risks carefully, then work overtime to assure success, but they clearly understand there is no such thing as a guarantee for success.
There are people today who want to eliminate our right to fail, that nobody should experience the pain or embarrassment of defeat. This is why I have a problem with the bailout plans our government has devised for the banks, automotive industry, and other financial institutions. I contend the bailouts will only be a temporary fix, and the companies will not make the severe and necessary changes to survive in the years ahead. Only failure will cause them to make the required changes. To my way of thinking, the government bailout plans are only delaying the inevitable.
All of the greed and corruption we allowed to creep into our business practices have finally come home to roost. Consequently, companies are no longer maintaining a competitive edge in business, and are losing money due to unscrupulous self-centered interests and just plain stupid business decisions. The companies are all sorry for the problem and promise to never allow it to happen again. Hell, an accused murderer or rapist couldn't say it any better. They all want redemption without having to worry about paying a penalty. I'm sorry, but that is not how the game is supposed to be played, but then again there are those who want to change the rules so that nobody loses. This is just plain wrong.
If you believe companies will make the necessary changes in their policies and operations, simply because the government is going to bail them out, you are taking it in the arm. Like it or not, failure is the only real catalyst to invoke true changes. Nothing is more powerful to truly change someone, than failure; ask anyone who has experienced it.
Nobody likes to take their medicine, but I'm afraid it is time to pass out the Castor Oil and tablespoons. It may sound silly and I don't expect a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon, but it's time to "Protect our right to fail!"
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a listing of Tim's Pet Peeves, click HERE.
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.