Video: The Art of Failing Well: Rapid-fire interview with Amy Edmondson


The Art of Failing Well: Rapid-fire interview with Amy Edmondson

An exclusive rapid-fire session with Amy Edmondson, the author of 'Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well' on the future of work and the evolution of psychological safety.

We used to see failure as something to avoid at all costs. Now it's often preached that we must "fail fast and fail often." But organisational psychologist Amy Edmondson argues that both views miss the mark. 

In her groundbreaking new book “Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well”, Edmondson makes the case for failing productively by drawing on her pioneering research into psychological safety.

According to Edmondson, the most successful leaders and teams don't just tolerate failure - they embrace it as an opportunity to learn.  We've recently done an in-depth interview with Amy, covering a spectrum of topics—from psychological safety to mastering the art and science of failing well. Stay tuned for the detailed interview. 

In the meantime, watch this rapid-fire session where she shares her perspectives on the new world of work, leadership, well-being, and more.

What inspires you or gets you excited about the future of work?

I find inspiration in the immense potential for innovation. The ability to reshape not only how we work but also the effectiveness of these new approaches in the evolving world of work.

One leadership book you'd recommend? Apart from your latest one.

"American Icon." It delves into the remarkable turnaround at Ford under Alan Mulally's leadership—a truly spectacular read.

One thing that has changed since you first presented the concept of psychological safety?

The notable shift is the increased emphasis on inclusion. While related, psychological safety and inclusion are not synonymous. Inclusion has broadened its scope to encompass a more diverse range of people than ever before, which is a significant evolution.

The most thoughtful question you have been asked about your new book - Right Kind of Wrong…?

It's a tough one since I've received many thoughtful questions. Perhaps the most memorable was, "What surprised you the most while writing?" I was asked this only twice, despite numerous interviews. My response centered on the commonality of people not making thoughtful distinctions in types of failure. Senior executives often declare failure off-limits without realising it doesn't magically make employees perfect; instead, it stifles open communication.

One piece of advice to overcome the fear of failure?

Successful individuals experience more failures than the average person. Remember, just like a great athlete faces more setbacks, embracing failure is part of the journey.

The most underrated quality in a leader today, in your opinion?

Humility, not in a falsely modest way. Leaders should acknowledge uncertainty, saying, "I don't know." Recognising the unpredictable nature of the future is crucial.

One piece of advice for aspiring leaders?

Develop your curiosity muscles. The more curious you are, the faster you'll learn, grow, and advance into leadership roles.

Which book are you reading currently?

I'm currently engrossed in "Hamlet," an extraordinary novel that offers a fictional perspective on the Middle Ages, providing a remarkable glimpse into that era.

Your mantra for mental well-being and work-life balance?

If you love what you do, achieving work-life balance becomes more manageable. Enjoying your contributions to something meaningful is key. However, a practice I struggle with is setting aside dedicated time in the day—away from rapid-fire emails—to think and create.

One business leader you follow closely?

Satya Nadella.

How do you learn?

Primarily through reading and interviewing individuals in real companies.

And the last question: What is one thing you’d want listeners to take away from this interview?

Recognise that each of us is fallible, yet our lives are enriched by embracing this imperfection. The takeaway is to embrace smart risks, and find joy in learning, whether the outcome aligns with expectations or not.

Stay tuned for the upcoming in-depth conversation with her.

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Topics: Leadership, #HRCommunity, #FutureOfWork

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