Celebrate Failure

If you’ve been around leadership circles very long you’ve learned the importance of celebrating small wins. What about failures?

Celebrating failure creates environments where people dare to try. If all you do is punish failure your organization will always choose the safe path. You’ll stagnate and die.

Find something in failure to celebrate.

“Forgive and Remember,” Bob Sutton in Good Boss, Bad Boss.

Celebrating failure includes rejecting finger pointing. When a project that you authorized fizzles, accept responsibility and honor those who worked hard but failed.

Celebrating failure means you focus on lessons learned.

“Fail fast, fail cheap, and move on to the real winners,” Ian MacMillan and Alexander van Putten.

Some might say, “If you celebrate failure you’ll get more failure.” However, I think if you celebrate failure in the right way, you’ll get more wins.


Obviously not all failure should be celebrated. However, not all failure should be punished, either.

How can leaders celebrate failure in ways that creates more wins?

When should failure be punished rather than celebrated?