Day 6 – F: Failure

The reigning Australian Open Men’s Champion Stanislas Wawrinka has a tattoo on his left arm which says “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” This quote by Samuel Beckett is indeed apt to describe the man who became only the second player to win a Grand Slam since the 2005 Australian Open outside the game’s big four. Often perceived as a journeyman professional, Wawrinka proved that it is all about striving and picking yourself up after every failure and trying harder.

The quote should be tattooed on every Knowledge Management professional’s heart if not the left arm. There are times when we think we have done all that we could to meet the ‘needs’ of the stakeholders only to be disappointed by the results. At times it is not easy to beat the blues and motivate yourself to continue to try. But it is important to get up off the floor one more time!

And to increase your chances of failing better the next time, you may refer some of these principles:
• The practitioner knows best – no matter who you get your insights from, never ever ignore to talk to people who work on the ground i.e. on projects
• Experience is the best teacher – learning takes place when you get your hands dirty
• Context is king – while replication and not reinventing the wheel is an important objective of knowledge management, it is important to acknowledge that context changes due to multiple reasons and solutions often would require new ways of thinking
• Success is often achieved when we are aware of the pitfalls and are able to address them

I have referred to the excellent article “NASA’s journey to Project Management Excellence” by Edward J. Hoffman and Matt Kohut” for the principles mentioned above. The article is must read for all Knowledge professionals.

The topic for tomorrow’s post is Governance.

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