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    Entries in Fail (5)


    To fail this often, you have to be pretty good

    Quick post from the Western NY satellite office of The 8 Man Rotation - wanted to point out an important NBA milestone that happened last night: Lakers star Kobe Bryant set the record for most missed shots for an NBA career.

    From the ESPN piece on the 'achievement':

    Kobe Bryant made history Tuesday, setting the NBA record for missed field goals.

    The Los Angeles Lakers star set the mark with 6:22 left in the fourth quarter of a 107-102 lossto the Memphis Grizzlies. He missed a 14-foot fadeaway jumper from the left side, giving him 13,418 career missed field goals, one more than Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek

    Asked about the record, Bryant, who scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-26 shooting and finished with 13,421 misses for his career, smiled and said he wasn't aware of it.

    "Nah, I don't follow that stuff, man," he said.

    How does he explain setting the mark?

    "Well, I'm a shooting guard that's played 19 years," he said, shrugging and smiling. He later added, "Like I said, 'shooting' guard, 19th year."

    Wow, over 13,000 missed shots in a career, more than any other player. You would think that this ignominious mark speaks pretty badly of our man Kobe. But before you come down too hard on the Mamba, take a quick look at the next half-dozen or so names on the 'Most career missed shots' leader board

    John Havlicek - (Celtics legend from the 60s and 70s, Hall of Fame member)

    Elvin Hayes - (The Big 'E', great scored and rebounder in the 70s, Hall of Fame member)

    Karl Malone - (The Mailman, Utah Jazz legend, possibly greatest power forward ever, Hall of Fame member)

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - (the NBA's all-time leading scorer, Hall of Fame member)

    Michael Jordan - (probably greatest player of all time, Hall of Fame member)

    I think you get the idea here. In order to be able to miss so many shots, you have to be an amazingly good and valuable player. Players who can't actually perform are not kept around long enough to climb very high on this kind of 'failure' list. 

    The bigger picture takeaway from the 'Kobe has missed more shots than anyone' story?

    That in many fields (sales, content marketing, natural resource exploration, showing price pigs at the county fair....), failure might come just as often, if not more, than success. You have to be out there competing, hustling, working it in order to fail so often. And your best performers, maybe even you, are naturally going to fail, sometimes often. But that might be ok.

    I will leave this story with a quote from Kobe, asked to comment on over 13,000 misses over 19 years:

    "You've got to go out and figure that out and play and do the best you can, and whatever happens, happens. You can't be held captive by the fear of failure or the fear of what people may say."

    If you are open, take the shot.

    Have a great Wednesday!


    Badges for failure

    Two themes that we saw, heard, and read lots about in 2012 were the value of 'failure' and the seemingly inexorable march toward 'gamification'. The failure theme is mostly about how you need to fail faster and more often, how you really only know you are pushing the envelope when you fail, and how lots of incredibly successful people have some pretty significant failures in their past. It is meant to make us feel better I guess, because if there is any one thing most folks can relate to it is failure.

    But we can take comfort in failure I suppose. At least that seems better than the alternative, drawing the blinds, getting under the covers, and watching a 'Real Housewives' marathon.

    The 'gamification' angle? Well that is mainly the idea that introducing mechanics and aspects of games, (points, leaderboards, badges, levelling up, etc.), to work and work processes will make them fun, (Yay for fun!), and make folks happier, more productive, and more engaged, (ACK, another 2012 buzzword), with their work.  

    Whether or not you buy-in totally to either or both of these ideas, the value of failure, and the gamification trend; I bet I can convince you that just like other epic combinations, (chocolate and peanut butter, Sonny and Cher, Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan), combining these trends will result in an incredible result.

    Just how does one combine failure and gamification?

    With Demerit Badges of course.  Check out some of these 'awards' for failure, courtesy of Demeritwear.com:

    Smartphone swimmingUtility Shutoff

    Out of gas

    Awesome right?

    With the Demerit badges you get the best of both worlds - utter and total failure, (which we keep getting told is great for us), as well as one of the fun elements of gamification, i.e. some tasty and colorful badges. Think about all the career development and fun you can have handing out a few of these Demerit Badges at your next team meeting, or giving a 'hard truth' performance review to someone on your staff!

    That is, in my best former consultant-speak, a Win-Win!

    Have a great weekend!


    The Obvious Wisdom of Turning Back

    Late in 2011 the incredible Meg Bear gifted a number of her colleagues and friends with a neat gift - a Year 2012 'Despair' desk calendar - you may be familiar with it, but if not I am sure you are probably familiar with the cheesy, hacky, inspirational 'Successories' posters which the Despair calendar lampoons.

    The image on the right of this post shows the 'October' page from the Despair calendar - a funny take on perseverance that reads:

    Perseverance - The Courage to Ignore the Obvious Wisdom of Turning Back

    Funny stuff, right? 

    But also raises what is I think a pretty interesting question and points out a kind of pop-leadership paradox, or at least something that gives me pause for a minute which is this:

    Failure, the need to have experienced pretty profound and sometimes public failure seems to get more and more acceptable all the time, (Yippee!). There are more and more pieces about the value of failure, and failing fast, and having fun with failure, you get the idea.

    But as we simultaneously embrace failure, and even celebrate the ability to admirably overcome failure, we also seem to fail to acknowledge that turning back, bailing out, walking away, and yes, even the Q-word, quitting, particularly early enough so that the inevitable failure doesn't even occur, at least not to the level that could cause real and enduring damage, perhaps should also be celebrated.

    Sometimes it is ok, and even the prudent and wise thing, not just to experiment and fail, but to experiment and withdraw when all signs begin to point to failure.

    One last thing, while the 'celebrate failure' meme seems to continue to take hold and perpetuate, I have a sneaky suspicion that the people in charge, owners, investors, heck - even HR folks and average hiring managers, 'embrace' people's failures a whole lot less than the meme suggests.

    Too much failure in your story might not be as wonderful a thing as you've been led to believe.

    A history peppered with a little less failure and a little more 'got out while the getting was good' is better.

    Of course, a career litany of resounding achievement and success is best, but that advice is about as useful as the Successories posters themselves.

    Happy Monday! Try not to fail too much today!

    Just kidding. Kind of.


    Failure and Fun

    Tomorrow night, Wednesday November 4th, I will be attending the Fail Spectacularly event at Joe's Bar in Chicago, Illinois.

    The 'Fail' event is hosted by Jason Seiden of Seiden Leadership and Laurie Ruettimann of PunkRock HR and is meant to give folks impacted by the crappy economy a chance to get up on stage, in front of over 200 assorted strangers and friends, and share their stories.

    And if hosting a rocking, free party for the good people of Chicago is not enough, Jason has offered to give away boxes of his fantastic first book, 'How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What's Left of Your Career.'  For details on this great and generous offer, see Jason's blog.

    And to add to the fun, and give the crowd a chance to see more failure in real-time, Shauna Moerke, the HR Minion, and I will broadcast a special episode of the HR Happy Hour show, live from Joe's Bar.

    This remote show was made possible through the generous support of HR Happy Hour show sponsor Aquire Software. Aquire makes the leading solutions for corporate organizational charting and planning, and has some of the coolest, nicest people in the HR Technology industry.

    The show, like the event, will start at 8PM EST, 7PM CST and we will stay on the air for the entire Fail party.

    There is still time for you to get to the Fail event, and to participate in the fun, just go to the Fail registration site and let Jason and Laurie know you are coming.

    See you in Chicago!


    Fail Spectacularly

    Just like Michael Corleone in the Godfather, I'm trying to get out, but I just keep getting pulled back in.

    Back to Chicago that is. 

    The HR Happy Hour Show is returning to Chicago to broadcast live from the Fail Spectacularly event being held on November 4th and hosted by Laurie Ruettimann from Punk Rock HR and Jason Seiden from Seiden Leadership.

    What is Fail Spectacularly?

    It is an event, or really a party, for anyone that has seen their world turned upside-down by this crappy economy. It is a chance to vent, to share your story, and to have fun as only you can by listening to other people's failures.

    So what will the HR Happy Hour show do at the event?

    I am not sure exactly.  We may just open the mics up and live stream the on-stage antics, we might grab speakers as they come off stage 'Oscars style', or I may just roam around the event to see what interesting stories I can turn up.

    Or quite likely the show will Fail. Spectacularly.

    Thanks so much Laurie and Jason for inviting the HR Happy Hour to the event, and thanks again to Lois Melbourne and Aquire Software for your support.

    See you in Chicago on November 4th!


    Many, many thanks to official HR Happy Hour show sponsor Aquire Software for making the remote show possible.