Have you recovered enough to talk about failure?

September 3, 2019
Aram Street
October 1, 2019

In the last 30 years, the oligarchic system in Armenia produced a rather perverse idea about success, measured not by education or skill, but by proximity to the ruling class. The hierarchy in society had deepened. Somehow, the progressive Armenian youth, some of whom were just entering the workforce, managed to ignore this pattern or had developed immunity to it.

Their evolution took a different turn. Smart and bright individuals refused to work for the oligarchs. Instead, they decided to start their own businesses, mostly in the IT sector. Some of them perhaps had seen their parents try their luck in entrepreneurship right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Others were the very first entrepreneurs in their family lineage. One thing is clear, unlike the previous generation, this youth wasn’t terrified of failure.

So, how did today’s successful generation of entrepreneurs liberate itself from the stigma of failure? I am sure they all tried very hard not to fail, or label it as a failure. Perhaps, some saw an opportunity, a blessing in disguise in a failed attempt to build a business, got back on their feet and tried it again. Tried as many times as needed to reach a sense of freedom from being seen as a failure. In the light of such understanding, “failure” may, indeed, prove to be our biggest catalyst.

Just as they recover enough to tell the failure story, a growing number of entrepreneurs use social media as a medium to share their stories. They figured that sharing, in a way, reinforces their status amongst the employees and the entrepreneurial circles. People want authenticity these days. And honest storytelling creates a bond between the writer (or speaker) and the readers (audience).

Writing a Facebook post on disappointments is more than just a method to teach lessons, it’s a powerful tool for connecting with people at all levels. And, no doubt, the younger generation of entrepreneurs knows this quite well.

Also, your employees and your audience want to hear the whole truth, and that includes you taking accountability for your role in the fuckup.

In the light of this new culture spreading up in Armenia, a lot of companies (that have been around for a while) have been trying hard to attract young talent by remodeling their offices to get a more modern look, but they haven’t figured out how to make the hierarchy healthier. There is no doubt that corporations need some hierarchy to function, but the interactions inside the companies need to become healthier if they are to attract great candidates and be able to keep them.

“Fuckup nights’” global movement has a perfect recipe to achieve this. Private events, where top management and ordinary employees can get on stage and share their “fuckups”, break the cycle of judgment and blame, accept responsibility and cultivate human connections.

Are you thinking of participating in a Fuckup Nights event? Feel free to drop the organizers a line.