It was a very challenging week at my work last week. At issue was the future direction of our main product. Without going into any specific detail of what was discussed, the biggest decision at hand was whether or not to continue on with a project that we had been working on for quite some time. I am fortunate to work at a software development firm which has a very long history (a 20+ year history) which in the software industry is unheard of. There are many people who have spent a majority of their working careers and lives in this company and have become very passionate about it’s direction and I admire this passion. They have inspired me to be passionate about our company in the relatively short time I have been here.
The biggest lesson we faced this past week is the admittance of failure. I have heard that word bandied about many times and each time I cringe at the thought that we have failed. We have not failed. Failure is only accepted when defeat is the only option and quitting is the result. I don’t believe we have failed but instead we have made is a costly mistake and one that will force us into the unknown with whatever direction we choose. Thing is, we are not quitting; far from it! So to accept defeat and admit failure is misleading and derogatory of the years of sacrifice and passion that has been poured into a company that prides itself on learning from it’s past mistakes.
When the big news about our project broke, I had reflected on my own personal effort in this mistake. I am on the team that worked on the controversial project, so I certainly own a big share of the lesson to be learned. Could have I tried harder? Yes! Could I have worked more focused? Yes! Could I have spoken louder when I felt things weren’t right? Yes! Was I drunk on the feeling that our great company was infallible? Yes! I own all of my mistakes and I make no excuse. But I refuse to allow my ego to stand in the way of growing as a person and as an employee. I refuse to point any fingers or place any blame. Blame is counter productive. It doesn’t matter how the ship is sinking, we will all drown together if we do not use our fingers to plug the holes instead of pointing them at our shipmates. Failure is not an option.