How can you try something new when the stakes are so high?
In professional downhill skiing, the key is to find what’s called “the edge” – the furthest you can lean without falling. So how do you find your edge? You fall – a lot – in practice.
Falling is controlled experimentation that allows you to find your edge. Failing is unplanned mistakes that can lead to disaster.
As leaders, it’s your responsibility to create a psychological safety net within which your team can experiment. Frito Lay’s Maple Moose flavour didn’t become a best-selling potato chip, but it also didn’t sink the company. What they learned from the experiment is the key question.
We often don’t clarify the difference between failing and falling in an organization, so everything gets labelled a failure when it could have been a learning experience.
How do you find your edge? When do you need to allow certain kinds of ‘falling’ in order to know your true capabilities?