When we started Stampede some good 5 years ago, Dov and I were still cringing at our share of bad workplace experience. Our goal then was to create a working environment where people not unlike us can do stuffs they really like while actually enjoying each others’ company. My litmus test when I wake up every morning is almost always – “Do I want to go to work today?”
You cannot underestimate the power of working with people you like. If you are an entrepreneur and have the choice, this should be high on your list. Not profit, not product. People.
Which brings me to my next point. So you found a person who is a perfect fit to your company culture. What next?
The Education of Failure
I think that it is crucial to build a company culture that allows employee to fail and fail fast. Everyone fails. You shouldn’t tiptoe and delay the inevitable. Only by throwing away your reservations and trying things and risking failure, you are able to learn new things. The key point here is moving forward – not to dwell on your failures or repeating the same mistakes. The former is denying yourself of further greatness (and I mean this in every sense of the word) and the latter is just, well, plain lazy. We abhor lazies.
At the speed in which this industry thrives, failing and moving on is a ubiquitous advantage. Never before an outcome of failure can be rectified almost immediately. If it’s beyond repair, be genuine and honest about it. Clients appreciate transparency and only know too well that everyone is fallible to some degree. Get it out of your system, step back and think of another way around it. Nip the negativity in the bud and move the project, and yourself, into positive territory again.
My take – everyone should be permitted to fail. I fail on daily basis, as few dozens half-finished artworks can testify. Dov’s intensity of hacking at his keyboard multiplies when he couldn’t get some code to work. Failure is an acceptable by-product of actually doing something. A good team is built to weather, nay encourage, the education of failures. People will be too scared to try new things if they’re too busy dodging toes.
On the other side of the coin, a company should have a failure-handling mechanism well-oiled and ready. Assure employees that failure is acceptable, help them get their bearing back, send them out there again, then get the hell out of the way.
So fail and fail fast. Then dust yourself off and move on. Rinse and repeat.