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The results are in: Failure Survey 2022

The Failure Survey is a valuable tool to help diagnose and assess the perception of failure within your organization

Raquel Rojas
The results are in: Failure Survey 2022

We all know that running a business can be full of ups and downs, and sometimes those downs can feel like they're hitting us harder than a ton of bricks. It's okay to admit that failure is scary, and it's okay to need some extra support when things aren't going as planned. But the good news is that with the right tools and mindset, we can face failure head-on and come out stronger on the other side. This is where our Failure Survey comes in.

What is The Failure Survey?

The Failure Survey is a valuable tool to help diagnose and assess the perception of failure within your organization. As part of The Failure Program, it contains a set of thoughtfully planned questions to help you identify areas of improvement and even the overlooked opportunities for growth in your company.

The questionnaire is divided into five sections which are all part of what we call Failure Culture. These topics are the cornerstones of our range of workshops and e-learning courses too ;)

  • Fear of failure
  • Communication and Difficult conversations
  • Psychological safety
  • Failure Management
  • Innovation

The Failure Survey helps individuals understand their relationship and perception of failure and create the kind of awareness that improves the day-to-day operations of any team.

What’s included in The Failure Survey, you may ask. Well, you and your team will get:

  • A unique link to the survey with questions for your team
  • A report with a summary of your team’s answers
  • A customized action program tailored to the specific needs of your organization and team(s), with tailored recommendations based on the survey results.

Now, without further ado, here are the main findings from our Failure Survey 2022

Fear of failure

Organizations tend to decide on the basis of safety and minimum risk when it comes to projects or products over greater profitability.

The fear that a project will not be successful has made 32% decide to stop it. 

On the other hand, 28.4% of individuals prefer to stop proposing ideas for fear that they will be rejected, compared to 40.3% who have almost never stopped proposing them.

As for project deliverables, 33.5% have preferred to postpone for fear that they still need improvement, compared to 25.6% who never postpone a deliverable. 

The majority, 57% never involve more people than necessary in decision-making, compared to 17% who usually do so because if something goes wrong, they are not the only ones responsible.

Communication and difficult conversations

35.8% usually prefer to keep quiet so as not to create a conflict, compared to 39.8% who would almost never keep quiet. Also, 46% say they would almost never avoid correcting someone so as not to hurt them, compared to 28.4% who would avoid doing so. 

Forty-seven percent would never keep quiet about the progress of a project when they don't have good news, and 37.5% would almost never do so. This compares with 14% who usually do. 

40.9% would almost never keep quiet about their opinions being different from those of the majority, compared to 26.7% who usually do. 

48.3% recognize that there are problems in the organization because of misunderstandings or assumptions, compared to 43.2% who say that this almost never happens. 

In general, people think usually there's usually  time to discuss and contrast ideas within their team (44.9%).

Psychological safety and vulnerability

In general, leaders recognize their mistakes, usually according to 48.3%, while 30.7% think that they rarely do. Also, more than half (52.3%) think it’s common that leaders usually differ from the employees’ point of vire, 19.3% think leaders always have a different opinion, and 27.8% believe leaders rarely think differently than the employees. 

In general, people prefer to solve their own mistakes rather than ask for help (40.9% vs. 29%) and they also prefer to research on their own rather than ask questions if they don't understand something (49.4% vs. 29.5%). 

As for organizations, it is not surprising to learn that most focus on results rather than processes (48% usually and 14% always), and therefore most prefer to make decisions based on safety and lower risk rather than higher return (34% and 17%).

Innovation: the other side of failure

Organizations tend to focus more on achieving results rather than processes (48.9%). 

36.4% think that there is usually a negative impact on people who lead a project that fails, compared to 43.8% who think that almost never. 

When they fail 41.5% of individuals usually feel more insecure, versus 36.9% who usually feel more empowered. 

Also, the majority think that usually 42% and always 35% communicate and report learnings, and there is a feeling that projects improve when lessons learned are analyzed (56.8%).

How was Failure Management in 2022?

The most striking data are that 48.3%problems tend to arise due to assumptions or misunderstandings, and perhaps this is related to the fact that 49.4% prefer to understand things on their own before asking questions, as well as the 40.9% who prefer to solve their mistakes on their own rather than ask for help. 

There may be a tendency to individualism or little support when problems arise. Even if mistakes are recognized or there are moments to share different opinions, when a problem arises, people tend to not ask for help. Most people feel insecure after failure, so that’s something to keep in mind as well. 

In Conclusion…

Navigating difficult conversations, creating psychological safety, and building safe spaces for open and honest communications around failure are the most needed actions across all industries. 

It's not easy to confront our fear of failure, especially in a culture that often values success above all else. But the truth is, failure is a natural part of life and a necessary component of growth and innovation. 

The importance of failure management in fostering psychological safety by holding space for difficult conversations, and building resiliency in business and beyond. 

Discover the power of failure, and bring The Failure Survey to your organization by filling out this form.

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The results are in: Failure Survey 2022


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