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Know What You Don’t Know: How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen by Michael A. Roberto

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6. Encourage Useful Failures

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison

James Dyson hated the fact that vacuum cleaners often became clogged, lost suction, and left far too much dirt on the floor.1 Described as a “tireless tinkerer,” the British inventor began trying to solve these problems.2 While Dyson tinkered, his wife’s salary as an art teacher kept the family afloat. The couple grew their own vegetables, made their own clothes, and still, they sank deeper and deeper into debt. After many years, Dyson perfected his revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner. The patented spinning technology separated dirt and dust from the air, eliminating the need for a filter or bag. The transparent design enabled ...

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