ultimately matters, is how failures are dealt with. If failures give rise to
self-doubt, then they do indeed get in the way of success. But if we can put
failure down as valuable experience, if we comprehend the potential for
learning which is behind it, then it can even pave our way to success.
How can we deal with our failures better in future?
- We should move away from causalistic perspectives.
Whenever people interact, a purely causalistic perspective is not
particularly helpful. In other words, we should learn to think in a
circular way, to also see apparent causes as effects and vice versa.
- We should pay less attention to states, and more to processes.
How things are is less interesting than the direction in which things
are developing. Studying the quarterly report does not help to assess a
- Continual growth does not exist in complex systems.
Hypes never last long. What goes up, must come down. The steeper the
growth, the harder the fall. The dot-com bubble and the financial
crisis are shining examples. In interconnected systems, growth is
repeatedly interrupted by crises.
- Sail instead of rowing.
Systems are lethargic. They sometimes react quickly, but usually with
delay. And sometimes interventions also have lasting effect. This is
what makes steering so difficult. The best way is to hold your nerve
and to use the winds creatively, instead of flailing around.
Incidentally, in a head wind it helps to change tack.
- Keep the overall picture in mind.
Anyone who focuses too much on details often becomes unable to see the
wood for the trees. But this also means that in management it is the
direction which must be right, not the dot on the i.
- Plan, but anticipate the impossible.
There is no such thing as change processes which work just in time.
Change processes create mess, noise and disarray – and are good for
surprises. Thus, the need for readjustments is unavoidable, whereas
anyone who basically sees this as failure, or stubbornly insists on
implementing the plan, has not understood how systems work.