INSTANT MBA: Tell Employees That Bad Ideas Won’t Damage Their Careers

jonathan huh

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Today’s advice comes from Benjamin Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network.
“I had this idea that panda bears were cute but they had an evil agenda and we should tell people about their ‘evil agenda.’ We started this website and it was completely not a good idea.

“That’s a specific example of failure, but we try to operationalize failure in our business. In other words, we understand that failure is a part of taking risk and taking good, positive risks is what a business is all about. Because without the risk there really is no reward.

“When we talk about failure, we don’t talk about it as a dead end. We talk about it as part of a process. We try to lower the cost of failure. It costs us two weeks to launch a new website. We try to make it as streamlined as possible so we can take multiple chances. If you operationalize and lower the cost of failure, your employees will continue to take the chances.

“We let them know if they have a bad idea, it won’t be damaging to their career. What will be damaging is if you don’t learn from your mistake or don’t take risks. We see that as being a bigger problem than actually failing itself.”

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