Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We failed!

We learned!  We succeeded!

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
Thomas A. Edison

As I write this post I will work back and forth between I and we, because there are personal insights as a leader and team insights that will be revealed. Personal failings and team failings are intermingled.

I tried to do something way bigger than I should have. Hence I failed. 

I worked to create a social experiment and the lessons are rich and deep. For that I am blessed. 

I am OK with sharing failure. Revealing the lessons, helps me to learn and I hope you might learn from my mistakes. I have noticed, not many people share their failures. I wonder why? We know why, cause, maybe you will not respect me any more. Maybe you will not support me any more. Well dear reader, I know that I know how to learn and refine.

Yesterday I spoke at the Jacksonville Business Journal Diversity Awards. I tried to do an interactive exercise and lost sight of a few things.

The main reasons I failed are clear. There are many more nuances but these three are clear and able to directly learn from.

1. Did not understand the dynamics of the event well enough to create something so complex.
2. Overlooked the real reason for the event: to celebrate and inspire. NOT LEARN.
3. Did not have enough collaboration with the key vision holder.

What I did learn about innovation and diversity.
1. It is hard to get people to innovate if they do not see the need to.
2. Innovation requires a special environment: order and chaos in the right proportion.
3. The timing of innovation efforts MUST be considered.

1. Getting voices heard is an art.
2. Helping people to understand the value of their voices takes time.
3. Creating a space that allows for voices to be heard is critical. 

WE Succeeded!
1. Learned that my team is incredibly flexible and capable
2. They are dedicated to excellence.
3. They feel comfortable sharing insights to help us all succeed. 
4. Made many contacts that are rich and powerful
5. Came together as a team and were willing to debrief in a healthy creative way. 

So this is the beginning of a journey. We are "all in" as they say and willing to reveal, so we may learn and connect with others who too are on the journey to re-creating. 

Look forward to your insights!

I want to take a moment to personally thank David Sillick and Kara Rosario of the Journal for their willingness to take a chance with this sorta wild Idea I had...we took a chance, had an opportunity to learn and we will all move forward in new ways.

In the next day or two, I will be sharing what actually happened at the event and share the insights into the social experiment.

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