Excerpt from Option B, Failing and Learning At Work, Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant.

“When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them. Yet typical work cultures showcase successes and hide failures. Just look at any resume; I have never seen one with a section called Things I Do Poorly. Scientist Melanie Stefan wrote an article challenging her peers to be more honest in their CVs. Princeton Professor Johannes Haushofer took her up on it and posted his failure resume – a list that went on for two pages of rejections from degree programmes, job openings, academic journals, fellowships, and scholarships. He later noted, “This darn CV of failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work.”

Convincing people to be more open about failures is not easy. Kim Malone Scott, who worked with me at Google, used to bring a stuffed monkey named Whoops to her team’s weekly meetings. She would ask colleagues to share mistakes from the week and then they’d all vote for the biggest screw-up. The “winner” got to keep the stuffed monkey on their desk where everyone could see it until the next week, when someone else earned the honour. Nothing could have been a better reminder to try hard things and discuss failures openly. Probably the only member of the team who didn’t feel good about this exercise was Whoops, who never got a week off from being the symbol of imperfection.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: