Learn From Failure Copy

Topic time estimate: 2 Minutes

sir winston churchill, british, prime minister

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

According to the book Tribe of Mentors, there are 3 hidden learning opportunities for you in each failure:


A multinational organisation went through a decade of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system implementation projects across all of their global locations. In the beginning, the organisation decided to implement the new system one location at a time to allow time for learning from failures.

After a completed implementation at location A, the organisation realised that the utilisation rate started to drop 3 months after the project consultants had rolled of the project. An investigation showed that whilst the changes appeared successful at go-live, people started to revert back to old habits.

The strategic sponsors at executive level learned from this million-dollar failure and implemented changes for the next iteration.

The following project improvements were put in place for location B:

  • A higher percentage of involvement of people from the business units was initiated via secondments.
  • A skeleton team of critical project consultants was engaged for 6 months post-go-live.
  • Training and documentation were checked for sustainability from the get-go and the time post-go-live was invested in creating self-paced learning resources for all process and system changes.
  • Business process coaches were engaged to continue sustainable training and coaching where needed.

The uilisation at location B achieved an improved outcome over location A and some of the materials were then made available to A as a result. Nevertheless, the organisation discovered further room for improvement after completing its location B roll out. Location C profits from the latest review.

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