We can’t all, and some of us don’t – Eeyore

Failure is not a happy place. Sometimes we frown, shuffle around, turn our tail and limp home.  But the former CEO of Procter & Gamble is definitely not an Eeyore – he takes failure as an opportunity to get better.  In our last blog he shared 5 root causes of failure at P&G and today we will see how he leveraged that failure for proven future success.

After finding those five fundamental causes of failure, A.G. Lafley and his staff focused on each of those problems and what had to change.  They looked at what strategies needed to be in place, what processes should be created, and what benchmarks or interim measures would assure they were on track.  They assigned someone to be in charge of each of those phases and followed a disciplined approach to each phase of the project.  When they started each acquisition with this process they found their success rate increased from the 30 year mark of below 30% to a 10 year success rate of above 60%.

Failure analysis is a crucial process that must be both undertaken by individuals and then institutionalized to be successful.  Lafley sums it up below:

It’s not enough to take responsibility for your failures.  It’s important to create a culture that turns failures into learning and leads to continual improvement.  If the leader of the company doesn’t do that, it’s very difficult to get the culture right.  It’s crucial to creating a culture of courage and openness to change and continued improvement.

Have you conducted a failure analysis?  What did you find and what have you changed?  Have you seen any quantifiable results?  Is your culture ready for courage and change?  If not, you can make that happen.


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