Willing to Fail


‘Tis the season to receive glowing reports of the numerous successes in the social sector.  The End-of-the-Year Appeal letters go to great lengths to define the impact of the cause.  Online video cards arrive in our email inbox with emotional recounting of the organization’s highlights.  It is all about feel good and reconnecting to the best an enterprise has to offer.

 Why do so few causes acknowledge the failures and the lessons learned?  Is there a fear of being authentic?  Is the appeal being sent to those who are less than committed and may want off the cruise at the first sense that the ship sailed into a storm?  Why not talk about the ‘oops’ moments.  If you are an in athletics many a failure is catalogued in real-time and the competitor is asked to explain the event immediately after the competition.  These incidents are not to be avoided.  In my experience the social sector prefers to run the highlight real constantly.  We are taught that it is our elevator pitch.  It is easy and everyone feels good.  But I wonder why we are not willing to standout and share the real story of the organization’s year.  Tell the story of the summits reached and the journey in the valley of disorientation.  As always, Seth Godin has masterfully defined the difference between a failure and mistake .  His definition provides a powerful template for future communications.  I wish you much success is telling your enterprises real story.

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