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The Success Failure Eco-cycle

There are two important relationships to consider between failure and success.

Firstly, failure starts where success ends, and it defines the limits of success.

But secondly, success often follows failure, since it frequently occurs after other options have been tried and failed

Comfort Success Zone

When we are in a CSZ the optimal behaviour is to investigate the success zone as far as possible, to leave no opportunity unmanaged and no benefit unexploited, until we reach a failure point. The goal is to push our success to the point of failure, and not failing indicates that we are not trying hard enough.

Innovation Success Zone

Emerging from the Failure Zone (FZ) into success brings us into a new zone where we can discover things that were previously hidden or unavailable. Here we move beyond the failure that is experienced by others and we begin to learn new ways of succeeding and performing. This can be called the “Innovation Success Zone” (ISZ). It can be reached by pushing through failure, being prepared to keep on failing until you eventually succeed.

Failure Zone

It is necessary to push through the FZ until success is found. In this case not succeeding is a result of giving up too soon, losing momentum or running out of energy. Persistence in the face of failure is rewarded eventually with success.

Persistence is not always rewarded with success, and sometimes the FZ is infinitely thick, with no possibility of success beyond it. Or perhaps it is just impenetrable in one direction and a change of tack might lead to breakthrough. The inability to exit the FZ may be due to infeasible goals where success is just not feasible, or perhaps the result of lack of capability or competence to make the necessary progress through the FZ into success.


Resources A more comprehensive version of this information can be found here

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