When You Might Want to Worry

By     Mar 9, 2016

Field Notes

These articles were originally featured on Field Notes, National Arts Strategies' ArtsJournal blog where we mine, distill and contextualize ideas; provide frameworks that anyone can use; and offer everyone in the field the opportunity to discuss the underlying issues.

It’s day four of our journey in the land of failure. To date, the news has been fairly positive, if not supportive. It has focused on the celebration, the motivation. As with everything in life, it is important to balance the bad with the good. Moderate your acceptance of failure with the knowledge that not all failure is good. This article in the Harvard Business Review by Art Markman makes this important distinction between a ‘good’ failure and a ‘bad’ failure. Occasional failure is ok, but systematic failure means you have a real problem. Art lists three factors that can lead to systematic failure:

  1. Short-term pressures versus long-term goals. Regularly schedule time and space to work on your long-term goals.
  2. Environments that are hostile to our goals. Do you work in a space with many distractions? Consider making a move.
  3. Working for too long. Long office hours do not always equal productivity.

Think back on the failures you’ve encountered this past year (we know you have at least some). What were they? Were they systematic? Were they influenced by any of the above factors?

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