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The Key to Workplace Success

Millions of brilliant, million-dollar ideas are being lost each year, and you may be helping the problem. Two forces are battling in the minds of employees across the globe, and it's up to you to make sure the positive force wins in the end.

The first force driving employees ahead is success. Each day presents them with a new opportunity to grow, expand, and progress further than ever before. Success means something different to each person, but the underlying idea of achieving dreams and goals excites and inspires us all.

The drive of success, accomplishment, and happiness is powerful, but oftentimes the second force can bring a standstill to progress. If left to its own devices, the second force wipe the thrill of success clear away in an instant.

The second force that drives employees is the fear of failure. While it doesn't inspire them to offer their ideas to the world and improve the performance of the company, it drives them to keep still, keep quiet, and keep every great thought locked away forever.

Allowing the force of fear to play the dominant position within an employee's workday robs both the employee and the company of an opportunity to improve and achieve new heights. It saps the strength and energy from a potentially rewarding experience leaving both parties less than what they could have been.

IT'S YOUR CHOICE Which force takes control is up to you - it depends on the tone and atmosphere you create with your company, department, or team. While many men and women in positions of power frown upon failure, the smartest of leaders expects and welcomes it.

To learn, you must fail. A quick example will help to make the need for failure clear. If 100 happy customers enter and leave a department store, there is nothing to build on. You have no clue as to why their experience was satisfying, only that they left without a complaint. While they may be happy with their experience (or unhappy and unwilling to tell you about it) you have nothing to gain in the long-term.

However, a complaining customer is offering you success on a silver platter. He is telling you exactly what you can do to improve your service. No guessing, no assuming. You are given specific instructions on how not to do something which will lead you to the secret of doing it better than ever before.

When an employee feels free to try new things, to offer their ideas, and to run with projects regardless of the potential for failure (assuming the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the idea is sound and relevant) you will have thousands of ideas coming your way from every corner of the company.

GROWTH FROM THE INSIDE OUT Some of the most successful advancements made within the world's largest companies have come from lower-level employees who were given the chance to be heard. If you create an atmosphere in which 100% success is demanded at every stage of the game, you will scare away future success and achievement.

Recalling our example from above, you not only get more ideas when you allow for short- term failure but also the specifics to success. When an employee fails, and takes steps to learn from that failure, you are benefited with new and powerful information. When you know how something doesn't work, you will eventually discover exactly how it does work.

Let it be known throughout your company, department, or team that failure is an option. Think of the countless ideas that are sitting patiently in the minds of your people - now is the time to let them out.

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