Do you have permission to fail?

Do you have permission to fail?

The saying “Failure is not an option” has been attributed to NASA flight director Gene Kranz who successfully guided the crew of the badly damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft safely back to earth. But was Apollo 13 a success or a failure?

At the time, Apollo 13 was one of the most serious failures that NASA had experienced. An explosion and rupture of an oxygen tank caused the rapid loss of oxygen, the loss of two of the three fuel cells, the potential loss of all electrical power and water, and ultimately the strong possibility that the three astronauts onboard would not survive.

Yet Apollo 13 was also considered a success, one of the most successful failures in history. In the minds of mission control and NASA engineers, FAILURE WAS NOT AN OPTION in finding a way to return the crew safely to earth. With ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, everyone involved in the mission triumphed against immense odds, successfully returning the crew to earth. NASA gained valuable insights into why the failures took place and developed new procedures to prevent future failure, which led to the success of future missions.

Failure may not be an option when it comes to life and death, but when it comes to everyday business situations, failure is always an option. With the right mindset, failure can foster critical and analytical thinking skills, enabling innovation and new ways of doing things, leading to greater success down the road.