Category Archives: Failure

Confusion, Cascades and Combinant Effects

Whilst attributed to Gene Kranz, Mission Controller for Apollo, the quote ‘Failure is not an option’ was actually penned by the screenwriters of the 1995 Apollo 13 film. Kranz just liked it so much that he claimed it back for … Continue reading

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The Human Within Failure, Complexity and Control

Later today i’ll deliver the first workshop around Failure, Complexity and Control: i’m as ready as i will ever be, and excited to share it. I wanted to share a final reflection on this work before it’s first outing, largely … Continue reading

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Building Complexity

This week i’m running sessions around ‘Failure, Complexity and Control’, based around my book ‘To The Moon and Back – Leadership Reflections from Apollo’. Today i’ve been working on this quick illustration as i tie up the loose ends and … Continue reading

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Failure, Complexity and Control

With some irony, i am deep in complexity as i design a workshop for next week of the same name: this is a familiar feeling. Typically i start by trying to ‘say’ too much – too many slides, too many … Continue reading

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10 Questions About Failure (And Whether It’s An Option)

Gene Kranz, Mission Control chief for the Apollo moon landing, was famously attributed the quote ‘failure is not an option’. In reality, he never uttered those words (although he did borrow them for the title of his autobiography). The quote … Continue reading

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#WorkingOutLoud on Big Loop Learning Organisations

Building out the work on ‘Big Loop Organisations’ today by exploring aspects of what it means to be ‘big’. The notion behind this is that legacy Organisations typically fall to ‘Diminishing Spirals’ of learning, as opposed to maintaining a momentum … Continue reading

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Fallout: The Failure of Dominant Narratives

A dominant narrative is a story that takes on a life of it’s own: it becomes the accepted norm. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, all across the United States, tens of thousands of nuclear fallout shelters were built, nearly twenty … Continue reading

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12 Modes of Failure

Organisations fail for a broad range of reasons, but rarely for no reason at all. I found myself thinking about a taxonomy of failure: unless we deem failure to be the action of idiots and fools, we must be open … Continue reading

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‘Safety Making’ – 9 routes to failure

I used a phrase in the blog yesterday, and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since: “People are engaged in some kind of mass hysteria, and mass ‘safety making’”. ‘Safety Making’: I wrote the sentence on an impulse: i … Continue reading

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Designing a ‘Festival of Failure’. A #WorkingOutLoud post

Today i am sharing some elements of the design around failure: it’s for a one day ‘Festival of Failure’, a structured ‘sense making’ event, to act as the foundation for change. A celebration of failure is not about blame, but … Continue reading

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