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Learn Together from Productive Failures

Hello, Amanda here from Think team! Happy Tuesday all! Lately, I have been studying about learning, particularly how to learn together. Inspired by one of colleague, Sasha’s blog about The Silver Medalist, I thought of sharing some of my productive failures on this learning path.


As I shared in my previous blog, we are redefining its corporate culture, and one of the ways we implement this is throught the monthly retreat that I usually conduct. For almost three months now, I felt a bit failing to deliver the transition to OKR, part of it because it took longer than I expected and swirling the same topic each time. Then, I realized that my inner motivation is wrong. I knew there was something missing (or even completely wrong) from my initial goal, which was for the team to begin right away with OKR and move forward. I thought of it more of an onboarding process. First: we introduce what it is, second: familiarize with the right tool, third: training and all will synergize smoothly with check in between. Then, I recognised that it is more than a transition and implementing a new culture and that it redefining as a team take time. My goal should be about synergizing focus, motivation and vision beyond the work within the company.



By now, I learned that sharing my understanding and how I understand is one thing, but designing and delivering knowledge and training an effective way is another thing. I reconfigured my goal to linking individual motivation to bigger company objectives and to a better future beyond su-re.co. To better understand each person interest, aptitude, needs and learning styles, I took the opportunity to dig more into them – what are the big wins and challenges that they face. With several different check ins and discussions with the team, I somehow end up with too many questions unanswered. Questions such as what are concrete changes required? What task or programs need to be in place? How do I get here to there?


So, in between questioning myself, I continue to refer to more books, management knowledge resources and have discussion with Tak. Then, we also did some small experimentation to change some our daily routines that were a success, and some big ones like introducing new tools that have not been so successful. I realized that not all experiments will result in successes and they will only occur if we allow people to fail productively, that experimentation in and of itself will be rewarded.


As I was going through all of my productive failures on operations, I start to see pattern of my 1% improvement . Transitioning company culture eventually boils down to three different phase: Meaning, Management and Measurement (I think I will describe this later in my next blog ^^). Now that I know more, I think some of my objective during the retreat failed because I thought of it as an instant effort and jumped straight into solving the management issue – the guidelines of practice, before fully comprehend and defining the meaning for the team. Currently, we are in define the Meaning phase where each of us pitch a Team Objectives! Let’s see how we do tomorrow :)


I am curious about your most significant learning or observation from your failures, what was your productive failure experience?

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Oktavianna Winda
Oktavianna Winda
09 sept 2021

I think my significant failure was when I could not get enough sleep which is a reminder for me that I have to manage my time better.

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I brought back my surfboard in the 1st year of Oxford. It was a huge mistake and got mental illness. So, I live in Bali now.

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I'm sure Tak knows that I wrote a bunch a buzzwords in my first proposal, thinking I did a decent job. We all had our humble beginnings.

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Contestando a

Not only you, but everyone did the same buzzword-thing.

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Perhaps one of my productive failures is when I just start working at the lab at Leiden University for my first research project. I took days to complete the preparation of only several samples because it was my first time and I don't want to make mistakes. Then I realized if I don't work smart or have better time management, I might have to prolong my project duration, thus I might have some troubles later when I want to keep my study on track. So I had to work a bit "faster" and of course mistakes had to be made so I can be more careful and agile as well as learn the most efficient way to handle those samples.

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cynthiaismail
cynthiaismail
12 ago 2021

I always learn the hard way :P I remember my first job ever in a big company, I was only responsible to make MOM in the first three months. As a youngster, I never know what's reason behind and made many mistakes. At the end, I realized small tasks like take notes during meetings, make you be in the meeting, and understand the context to avoid misunderstanding among peers.

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