This week’s focus: A few years ago I learnt to sail dinghies. For the first few days I was focused on one thing: not to fall in the water! I saw capsizing as a sign of failure and I was determined not to fail. On the third day the wind blew stronger and we were learning more technical manoeuvres and, unsurprisingly, the boat tipped over and I ended up in the sea.

I quickly realized that falling in the sea was not the worst thing in the world, and that the best way to understand how to balance the boat and maximize its speed was to, sometimes, go beyond its natural limits.

It’s the same in business. Failure is the Siamese twin of innovation. The secret to success is not to avoid failure but to fail – and learn – as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

Off the record: Right Next Time by Gerry Rafferty

You’ve got to grow, you’ve got to learn by your mistakes

You’ve got to die a little every day just to try to stay awake

And when you believe there’s no mountain you can climb

Well if you get it wrong you’ll get it right next time

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.