I hope you fail this week (seriously)

I hope you

I hope you fail this week.  Seriously.

Think about it, when was the last time you failed as a manager?  And I don’t mean forgetting to submit an expense report or missing a “coachable moment” with someone on your team.  I’m talking about a good, old fashioned belly flop.

If you’re having trouble thinking of something, that’s probably not a good thing.

Like many highly regulated industries, pharmaceutical sales leadership is an easy place to:  find a safe speed, throw the car into cruise control and just roll on for extended periods of time.

Maybe forever.

This can be a pretty comfortable place to hang out, too.  The magical metric generator spits out reports that say you’re doing great, you’re “off the radar” and your performance is right there in the fat part of the bell curve.

Comfy, right?   Everything is awesome… (Check out this quick clip of Emmet from The Lego Movie “following the instructions” and I think you’ll get the idea!)

Emmett follows directions

But let’s face it, that’s not where the special moments happen.

That’s NOT where we truly motivate, inspire and lead our teams to accomplish incredible things in their professional and personal lives.

The magic of leadership happens when we decide to try something new that just might fail.  Fall flat on its face.  Might even expose us to a little criticism or chuckling in the back of the room.

In fact, if we’re doing it right, we WILL fail.


People will think we’re weird, crazy or at least wonder why the heck we’ve left the cozy confines of the easy way.  It’s worth it.

  • Deciding NOT to do the same old field ride, the same old way
  • Giving that presentation the way you REALLY want to and leaving the slide whipping to someone else
  • Having the courage to try that new sales initiative that’s a little off the grid

Our teams are counting on us to do this because when we’re willing to FAIL – we’re willing to WIN.  To help them WIN.  Because out of the pile of misses will come a huge hit – the kind of transformational effort that will really make a difference.

When we don’t take chances, we might not lose but we certainly won’t win.  That goes for sales performance, your next POA meeting and the development of the folks you work with.

So…where will you fail this week?

Until next time,



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “I hope you fail this week (seriously)

  1. Why have we created a culture where people are afraid to fail? And how do we fail to recognize the impact on our learning process? It’s an odd paradigm shift and one I don’t easily see being reversed.

    • Kent – thanks for the comment…and such a great point. The benefit of failure to learning, growing and thriving is so clear in some of the best success stories we like to tell…and yet we tend to do everything we can to avoid it (…and to help those around us avoid it, too.) Hopefully the awareness alone can help to bring about a small amount of change!