Drops from the Fire Hose – August 15, 2012

Whenever someone is over-the-top adamant about something, I’m always a bit skeptical of the opposing perspective. In the ‘1st drop,’ Ashkenas (the author) refers to a scene from Apollo 13 where Ed Harris’ character asserts, “Failure is not an option.” While the situation may have called for it, I’d say it’s still important to be mindful of the possibility of the opposing viewpoint.

When Failure is a Good Option — Harvard Business Review

For example, true organizational innovation is impossible without failure. At its heart, innovation is based on the scientific method: Develop a hypothesis, test it, and find out if it’s valid. Doing this well requires repeated failures. But each one helps you cross out one more invalid hypothesis and gets you closer to figuring out what will really work, whether you are at an early stage of development or trying to determine the best way to commercialize and scale.

Attaining Satisfaction — Columbia Business School, Ideas at Work

People often set low goals that are easier to reach with the belief that doing so will guarantee happiness. But does this approach actually protect the goal-setter and lead to greater satisfaction?

The answer may lie partly in how people measure their performance — whether against their initial goal or the pinnacle of what is possible in a given situation. For example, is a student who aims for a B on a test satisfied when they earn that grade, or are they disappointed because they could have earned an A?


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