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The Other "F" Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work

Book Description

Leverage the power of failure in your organization

Nobody wants to fail, but failure is a fact of life. Most of us treat it as a regrettable, even shameful, event best overlooked. In truth, failure can be a game-changing strategic resource that can help you and your organization achieve the greater success you crave.

The Other "F" Word shows how successful leaders and teams are putting failure to work every day - to re-engage employees, spark innovation and accelerate growth. Authors Danner and Coopersmith - with their rare blend of senior-level executive experience, global advising, teaching acumen and cross-discipline perspective - share these valuable new practices, and show how they can improve results across your organization. Based on exclusive interviews with prominent leaders and insightful examples from their own in-depth work, the book features a practical seven-stage framework to liberate failure as a force to advance your leadership agenda. After all, everyone creates and confronts failure on a daily basis. Why not use it to your advantage? The Other "F" Word shows you how to:

  • Start an open, productive conversation about failure across your organization

  • Reduce the fear of failure that stifles initiative, creativity and engagement

  • Anticipate, prepare for and respond to failure, so you can leverage it when it happens

  • Harness failure as a catalyst to drive innovation, improve performance and strengthen culture

  • Failure's like gravity - pervasive and powerful. Whether you're a leader or team member of a startup, a growing business, or an established enterprise, failure is today's lesson for tomorrow. Let The Other "F" Word show you how to apply this lesson and take your company where it needs to go.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover
    2. Praise for The Other ‘F’ Word
    3. Title Page
    4. Copyright
    5. Dedication
    6. Foreword By Jeffrey Bewkes, Chairman and CEO, Time Warner
    7. Preface: A Book About a Topic Nobody Wants to Talk About
    8. Chapter 1: What's in It for Me? Your Personal Guided Book Tour
      1. Find Yourself Here
      2. Our Roles in This Book
    9. Part I: What
      1. Chapter 2: The Other F Word: “Failure” Is Such a Loaded Word
        1. From Verb to Verdict: How Failing Becomes Failure
      2. Chapter 3: The Gravity of Failure and Failure's Gravity
        1. A Universal Force
        2. Gravity's Silver Lining
        3. Failure's Gravity
      3. Chapter 4: Defining Failure: Mistakes and Unwelcome Outcomes That Matter
        1. Failure is Today's Lesson for Tomorrow
        2. Unintentional Versus Invitational Failures
        3. What About Accidents?
        4. Debunking the “unk unk” Defense
      4. Chapter 5: Fear and Memory: Failure's Force Multipliers
        1. Fear of Failure and the Status QUO
        2. Fear: Failure's Magnifier
        3. Fear: Failure's Strongest Ally
        4. Memory: Failure's Long Shadow
    10. Part II: When and Where
      1. Chapter 6: Start-Ups: Launching Your Venture in the Land of Failure
        1. Small Failures Can Lead to Huge Success
        2. The Other F Word and Start-Ups
        3. Failure's Unique Faces in Start-Ups
        4. Start-Ups Have a Complicated Relationship with Failure
        5. To-Do's: Improve Your ODDS of Start-Up Success
        6. Your Role: The Passionate Convincer
      2. Chapter 7: Keep-Ups: Surviving and Thriving After You Meet Payroll
        1. Fishing for Profits
        2. Key Facts
        3. It's Not Easy Chasing This Version of the American Dream
        4. Running the “Six C” Gauntlet
        5. Family Dynamics: Can They Help?
        6. The Goldilocks Zone
        7. To-Do's: Rev Up Your Keep-Up
        8. Your Role: The Confident Juggler
      3. Chapter 8: Grown-Ups: Dodging the Oxymoron of “Big Company Agility”
        1. From Confident, Nimble Innovator…
        2. …To Stumbling Follower
        3. Key Facts
        4. Newton's First Law
        5. The Irony of “Too Big to Fail”
        6. The Risk/Reward Paradox
        7. Grown-Up Math: The Beauty and Tyranny of the Big Denominator
        8. Your Biggest Competitor May Be You!
        9. To-Do's: Focus on the Biggest Issue in Big Business
        10. Your Role: Trusted Colleague
    11. Part III: How
      1. Chapter 9: The Failure Value Cycle: Seven Stages Where You Can Leverage or Flunk Failure
      2. Chapter 10: Stage One: Respect: Acknowledge the Gravity of Failure
        1. Back to the Darkroom: Kodak Loses Focus
        2. The “Aretha Challenge”: Can Your Organization Spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
        3. The Price of Ignoring
        4. Free the Other F Word!
        5. Develop a “Raise Your Hand” Culture
        6. Expand Your Vocabulary
        7. From Six Sigma to Zero Stigma
        8. Checklists and Compasses
        9. 1. No-Fault Failure Zones: Freedom to Experiment
        10. 2. Low-Defects Zones: Bring In the Low-Sigma Troops
        11. 3. No-Failure Zones: Where Perfection Is The Standard
        12. Find the Value-Add
        13. Your Role: Straight Talker
      3. Chapter 11: Stage Two: Rehearse: It's Not Just About Fire Drills
        1. When Every Day Is Game Day
        2. An Ounce of Anticipation Is Worth a Pound of Improvisation
        3. Keep Your Crown Jewels Safe
        4. High-Reliability Settings Where You Can't Afford To Fail
        5. Rehearsing When High Resiliency Is What's Required
        6. Think of Your Experiments as “Pre-hearsals”
        7. Your Role: Tenacious Coach
      4. Chapter 12: Stage Three: Recognize: Pick Up the Signals of Failure Earlier
        1. From Big Bang to Big Data to Big Insights
        2. Picking Up Failure's Early Signs
        3. Your Role: Watchful Monitor
      5. Chapter 13: Stage Four: React: Deal with It!
        1. New Yoga Position: Bend Over, Insert Foot in Mouth
        2. How Rehearsals Can Help Your React Reflexes
        3. Resist the Knee-Jerk Reaction to Scapegoat
        4. Ask The “Right Now” Question
        5. Acknowledge and Apologize
        6. What About “Failure Is Not an Option”?
        7. Honor Your Honest Failures
        8. Your Role: Team Captain
      6. Chapter 14: Stage Five: Reflect: Turn Failure from a Regret to a Resource
        1. Searching for the What, When, How, and Why, Before the Who
        2. Take Care of Your Injured First
        3. Recovery and Reflection Go Together
        4. Address the Ripple Effects
        5. Judgment Trumps Analysis: Thinking Beyond the Event
        6. Big Data and the Crowd in the Cloud
        7. Your Role: Inquisitive Student
      7. Chapter 15: Stage Six: Rebound: Retake the Initiative
        1. Short-Cycle versus Long-Cycle Rebounds
        2. Get Back in the Game
        3. Clear the Decks for an Effective Rebound
        4. Your Role: Field General
      8. Chapter 16: Stage Seven: Remember: Embed Failure Savvy in Your Culture
        1. What's Worse than a Root Canal? Doing One on Yourself!
        2. Create “What Have You Failed For Us, Lately?” Metrics
        3. Your Role: Proud Storyteller
      9. Chapter 17: The Failure Value Report Card: A Practical Tool to Help You Put Failure to Work
        1. Before
        2. During
        3. After
        4. Grading Guidelines
    12. Part IV: Now
      1. Chapter 18: Creating the Failure-Savvy Organization
        1. Our Journey So Far
        2. 1. Decide Where Your Organization Needs to Go
        3. 2. Take Stock of Where You Are, But Beware
        4. 3. Focus on a Foundation of Trust
        5. 4. Teams—Your Culture's Proving Ground
        6. 5. Metrics That Prove You're Serious
        7. Some Simple Ways to Get Started
      2. Chapter 19: Escape the Gravity of Failure: Leading the Fallible Organization
    13. Afterword By China Gorman, CEO, Great Place to Work Institute
    14. Appendix: Our Classrooms: Putting Failure to Work in Creating Value
      1. “Workshop for Startups”: Pressure-Testing New Venture Concepts
      2. Our “Other F Word” Course
    15. Acknowledgments
    16. About the Authors
    17. Index
    18. Presenting The Other “F” Word Keynote
    19. End User License Agreement