Dear CEO: Failing Can Be Good (If Done Right)

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A risk-averse, play-it-safe mindset can be at odds with the rapid pace of modern business. But how can companies “fail fast” to accelerate and evolve their software delivery? The focus should be on the second word here- “fast”.

On June 13, Cornel (C.J.) Montano, Forte Group Partner and Managing Director of Global Services and Solutions, spoke on the topic at IT Connect at the Mid-America Club. His talk, “Dear CEO: Failing Can Be Good (If Done Right),” outlined ways companies can change corporate culture to fail fast, fail safe, and bring IT and business closer together.

Watch the full presentation here:

In the 20 years of C.J.’s professional career, he has often found himself sitting in between the CEO and a much larger team—the IT tech or software engineering team—trying to solve problems caused by both sides not knowing how to work together.

If a healthy channel of communication and information exchange is missing, all parties are setting themselves up for failure

There are many ways to survive in an organization, whether it be actual competency, politics, or institutional knowledge. But what happens when the IT department and the business don’t align and are always at odds with each other? In short, misalignment stalls organizational advancement.

According to C.J., the lack of trust between leadership and the IT teams inside organizations has produced complications that stifle growth and productivity. If a healthy channel of communication and information exchange is missing and the IT teams are just simply following orders, all parties are setting themselves up for failure.

During his talk, C.J. offered up a case study—based on multiple experiences—as an example of just how fast an organization can fail in the wrong way. For IT teams, building software that holds no value causes delivery stagnation and competitive decline.

Without correcting your path and failing the right way, failing fast is just the same as speeding up your incompetency. Build software the wrong way and build it the wrong way long enough and that’s what you become good at— building software the wrong way.

You will only begin to build the right path with the right software when the people on your team are speaking freely

So what’s the solution and how to fail fast? The CIO is the culture transformer. CIOs should explore ways to establish an environment for safe experimentation, sometimes referred to as psychological safety. Google learned through its quest to build the perfect team, widely known as Project Aristotle. Psychological safety refers to a person’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk, or a belief that his or her team is safe for risk-taking in the face of seeming incompetent or negative.

In a team with high psychological safety, people feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will judge or embarrass them for their ideas or concerns—even if they fail in the short term. You will only begin to build the right path with the right software when the people on your team are speaking freely.

Interested in a copy of the full presentation? Let us know and we’ll send you the deck.

Franca Yang

by Franca Yang

Franca is a Communications Associate at Forte Group, where she collaborates with leaders from Forte’s global offices to develop and share engaging content, news, and industry insights.

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