The scenario is familiar: A crisis has occurred or is eminent. The leader assembles is team. He gives a rousing pep talk which includes this phrase: “Failure is not an option!”
Failure is always an option.
It’s the most likely option. Far more likely than success. Far easier to happen. If it wasn’t, a dramatic pep talk would be unnecessary.
So what is our leader really saying by telling his subordinates that “Failure is not an option”? He’s saying, “Listen to me guys. You better not screw this up!” Far from inspirational.
Failure is critical to success. Almost always a precursor to it. The key is managing it, such that the costs are small but the benefits are potentially huge. That’s real leadership.
Originally posted here.