One of the traits that we try to master here in the company is how to fail fast so we can learn fast. We know that this is different, and understand that most of us are not wired to fail or to submit something half-baked. But we are slowly unlearning our old habits.
Here at 9Grids, we are encouraged to fail early so we can all move forward and improve right from the get-go. We are constantly reminded that it is okay to fail. What isn't okay is not learning from our previous mistakes and, worse, blaming others and coming up with excuses for our shortcomings.
Our CEO even told us that it is okay to fail as long as we fail early, and that is because it is a good way for us to gauge if the path we’re taking is the right one. With this, we can also make sure that we will only fail while making drafts and during practice sessions, and not after completing the actual output, during crucial stages, and definitely not at the end of game time!
So, during one of our Culture Talk Fridays, our CEO tried to instill this train of thought in us by hosting a game wherein the objective is to win by following his instructions.
The team was divided into two. Team B was asked to get water. Team B rushed and gave Dan some water. After a minute, Team B wasn't able to give Dan precisely what he asked for. Afterwards, Team A was asked to draw a car on the whiteboard, but was not able to deliver, either.
Apparently, what the CEO required was lukewarm water, halfway filling up his own mug. Meanwhile, the car that had to be a red hatchback of a specific size and with the lights turned on.
From here, the teams learned to ask for and get feedback. So, after two more rounds, both of the teams were able to successfully and precisely perform their assigned tasks. It just goes to show that instructions can be interpreted in many ways. Most of the time, people will have different ideas. Collaboration, asking the right questions, and most of all, learning from past mistakes will lead you to the best results.