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People in this day and age crave instant gratification. They see failure as a final destination and not as an opportunity to grow and improve. The founder of Honda Motors, Soichiro Honda, once said that “success is 99% failure.”

Some people thrive after failures, but others don’t. It is because of the type of failure experienced, the underlying reasons for the failure, and the ability to assess it in the right way, so you avoid repeating the same mistakes.


What is the typical reaction to failure?

Many people see failure as something that attracts adverse treatment or punishment. It is why they look to blame others and pass the proverbial buck. People commonly look for who or what to blame in the first place if they experience failure. 

Sometimes people hesitate to accept their mistake to avoid looking like a bad guy. However, the blame is warranted when a team fails because of someone not following protocol or deviating from the set plan. Apart from playing the blame game, another common reaction to failure is that all failures are equal. It is not valid. In reality, there are three distinct types of failures.


Types of Failure

Preventable Failures

These are bad failures that could have been prevented if they had been approached the right way. Such mistakes happen when someone does not follow the prescribed operating methods. It can be due to an inability to follow the set procedures, lack of attentiveness, or a deliberate divergence from those procedures. In case of a preventable failure, it is easy to figure out what went wrong. An example of a preventable failure can be accidents due to the driver’s lack of concentration on the road.

Failure in a complex system

There are several factors in a complex system that may play into the failure. These factors include the organizational needs, processes, people involved, and the introduction of new problems and situations.

Failure in such systems is systematic. It begins with multiple, small shortcomings that, if left unsolved, can transform into a huge problem. You may not be able to avoid each small mistake as they are a reality. What needs to be done is to ensure that these little mistakes are fixed swiftly. 

Intelligent Failures

The intelligent failures are the ones that result from experimentation and give you valuable knowledge and information. When you act upon the gained experience, you can propel an organization forward with positive change and growth. For instance, the world would not have seen light bulbs or typewriters without the trial and error approach of Thomas Edison.

How to deal with failures?

The culture of “success at all costs” should fade away. Businesses shy away from the process of trial and error because the fear of failure is too high. However, companies can learn far more from failure than from success.

Our culture has been conditioned to look at success as a reward and failure as a disgrace. People fail primarily because there is a desire among all to be perfect. We live in a society that worships perfectionism. So if we fail, we slink away in embarrassment. On the contrary, some people never try at all to avoid this disgrace.

However, it is crucial to surpass these societal pressures and learn the lessons failure has to teach. It looks easy, but it isn’t. Businesses have to self-evaluate to determine precisely why it happened. They have to use the right metrics to do so. 

The process of self-assessment involves five steps. These are:

  1. Ensuring that each employee included reviews the situation
  2. Review what happened sequentially
  3. Analyze what went right
  4. Analyze what went right
  5. Come up with recommendations



Failure is not eternal. It is a step closer to success. What counts is how someone uses the mistakes as a learning tool on the path to success. You should own your mistakes, try to learn valuable lessons, and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries.

We, at Oak Business Consultant, are specialized in providing consultation on these matters. We have helped a number of companies in building a robust financial model and business plan along with Pitch Deck. Therefore, you can visit our website Oak Business Consultant to consult with us for free.

Oak Business Consultant has helped many Start-up and SME’s for the preparation of Business Plan, Financial Modelling, and Financial Consultancy.

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