Turn every disaster into opportunity

When a company performs an activity it gains experience - The experience gained provides useful feedback, whether the activity succeeded or not - The company must analyze the feedback to find out what could be done differently and better - The company implements these better models and approaches in new projects.

Every disaster is an opportunity for learning. Success for entrepreneurs always involves trial and error and resilience. US industrialist J D Rockefeller, looked to turn every disaster into an opportunity. As the world turned to electric lighting from kerosene oil lamps, his business was threatened. However he quickly saw the potential of Ford's automobile and realized that oil could just as easily be converted to gasoline as kerosene. Rest is history.

Constant learning and constant improvement has become the norm, but the challenge is companies are reluctant to recognize failure and learn from it. To overcome this companies need to build a culture in which people are not criticized or penalized for mistakes, but are actively encouraged to gain useful insights from them. 3M allows technical staff to allocate 15 percent of time to experiment with ideas.

Recognizing error, cutting losses, spotting new opportunities and changing course is a test of leadership. It requires rational, unemotional thought that focuses on the costs and benefits of changing direction.

3 F's - Flexibility, Feedback and Fast response are key to finding a new path via failure.

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