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"Punishing Failure is a Way to Encourage Mediocrity"

Gong_show_3 Continuing my thinking this week on failure and risk-taking as forms of professional development, here's a great video from Michael Eisner on the role of failures in creating successes. A few gems:

  • Punishing failure is a way to encourage mediocrity. Fearful people do mediocre work.
  • To increase your successes, you have to double your failure rate.
  • Disney, taking a cue from The Gong Show, used to do brainstorming sessions where the worst ideas were "gonged." According to Eisner, it was a badge of honor to have your idea get the gong and the spirit of playfulness that surrounded the practice encouraged people to throw out their most outrageous and creative ideas.


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The interesting and unusual part of Eisner's comment is that it was a badge of honor to get the gong. It is not unheard of that in organizations and other social situations outrageous ideas are penalized and get gonged.

Richard Sheehy
What do you want to Learn2Day?

It's too bad that more people and organizations can't get comfortable with the idea of failure. I think it starts in school, with grading, and then just continues throughout the rest of our lives. It's really unfortunate.

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