Make Friday your Failure Day

Advisor Mads Svaneklink asks you to embrace failures for you to stay innovative and relevant to the labour market.

25 June 2018

You are careful and professional. You perform to perfection every time. All deadlines are kept and you deliver the expected in all your tasks.
If this description fits you, dear reader, then you will most surely be a complete failure in the future labour market.

The value of your everyday job is in constant decline

The reason behind your future short comings is the increasing demand for innovation and development of your personal skills and competencies. The job you do today will most certainly be outdated. Soon your tasks will be handed over to either a less educated person, a robot or simply not seen as a valuable task anymore. The overall value of your everyday job is in constant decline.

A glance into the future

The futurists and scientist are with their analysis and research constantly reminding us to ‘disrupt’ the way we work. “Eat – or get eaten” is the simple message we get over and over again. This enables our fear for the future and the insecure feeling of becoming a worthless employee from one day to the next.

One of the more qualified and useful reports on the matter was published by Deloitte in January 2018 with the title “The evolution of work”. Deloitte has had a glance at the work force trends and concludes that we as professionals must reinvent ourselves throughout our whole life.

Deloitte’s message is in the softer and more constructive end of the scale. We need to start within our own ballfield and reinvent our own capacities to fit a new and everchanging reality. This idea will in other words mean we should change our way of working gradually. This could be done by changing 10-20 % each year – and not by a disruptive approach with a 100 % change in one blow.

It may seem more achievable for the individual person with this transitional understanding. At the same time, a total change of work area and effort is undergoing through 5-10 years.

But a change of 10-20 % does not come by itself. If you really want to make a change, you must seek out the unknown. You will might educate yourself, take part in an internal job rotation or a similar action. But you can also start doing what a real inventor does: You must fail!

My advice to you: Use your Fridays for failures

It is rarely nice to fail. And the mistake in itself does not add value if you do not learn from it. Therefore, my advice is that you use your Fridays to fail. Fridays make up 20 % of your work life and will be an obvious personal exploratorium. After four effective working days of the week, where you have completed all the current tasks, you can set off the fifth day to try new and unknown things - and fail a lot!

However, it is the few that have the opportunity to make mistakes a part of their working life. There are customers who need to be happy and managers who need confidence in your work. It may therefore be an idea to create a safe zone where the failures can thrive freely - without harming anyone or anything.

Create safe zones

This is what Ida Malene Jacobsen did. My Norwegian colleague, working as our Creative Concept Developer, has always been passionate about self-development. Throughout the years, she has created several “safe zones”, that has enabled her to learn and explore new topics she knew little about – especially social media and the concept of “influencers” before it was a known term. In 2010, she got inspired to create a blog about nail polish. She had always been fascinated about nails and wearing nail polish, but knew little about how to become more than just a customer.

By throwing herself out in the blogger word, she learnt a lot about the topic in a short amount of time. She began building the website, create quality content, make great photos and started to promote the blog. What started as an amateurish features and underexposed pictures, quickly improved step by step and blog by blog - and before she knew it, she had made the platform for a professional blog. Ida grew a large fanbase that used her work as reference for finding the best nail polishes and inspiration for beautiful nails. With the fanbase followed sponsors who would reach out to her, wanting to use her expertise for articles and promotion of their own products.

Ida embraced the failures

The blog became bit of a revelation for Ida. Her hobby project gave her a lot of new insight – some of the insights are the new trends everybody else is learning about today. Driven by her curiosity and her willingness to learn more about her passion, Ida ended up by learning all those things her project demanded of her.

Even though it sounds simple, it requires a great deal of bravery! The success Ida experienced is based on all the mistakes and failures she made in the process. The blog could might as well had flopped with only the closest friends clicking by. If so, then at least Ida would have learned a thing or two about that.

Today Ida does not only have one blog – but several very professional blogs that exude quality and her big talent. All the amateur mistakes from the first attempts have been tucked away. Even us close colleagues are not allowed to see the first pictures, but she has learnt from every one of them!

Failure are the first steps towards success

By using and reviewing failures as the first steps of the ladder towards success, you might just move quicker and more efficient towards your goal, believe it or not. It takes courage and time to explore the unknown. The gain will be that you will test yourself and reinvent yourself and your qualities in this changeable world.

So why not start on Friday? You get the first three steps are:

  1. Find something that awakes your passion!
  2. Create a safe zone where you can play, make mistakes and learn - without damaging you or those around you.
  3. Follow people and companies that inspire you. Learn from their success - but do not forget that they have also failed. Often!

You need to be aware that you might not get the success you hoped for, and maybe it will all fail, but hey, at least you learned something.

About the blogger

Mads Svaneklink is a communication advisor and partner at Analog. His articles for Cphbusiness Alumni are about what happens when technology meets business, with a focus on the barriers that occur in the introduction of new technologies to existing work practises.
Since 2012, Mads Svaneklink has been a digital trainer at higher education institutions, businesses and unions.