“Permission to fail, General … !” “Granted!”

2019/01/05 Articles

Can you imagine what a guy like General Patton would have done if someone had said that to him? I’m sure the response would have been colorful.

At RPG we operate under the philosophy that if you’re a good and honorable person, you’ll be a good and honorable worker. I feel that if you have talent and honor I’ll find room for you here even if I can’t afford it. There’s no time clock or bean counters here trying to squeeze every dime out of a client. That doesn’t work at all for me and I doubt it works for you as well. We’re not lawyers for God sake.

When you bring in really smart people the bar is always raised to another level smarter than the previous level. It only makes sense. We have six staff members now as RPG is growing fast. I’m so much smarter now than I was when I first started this company and I’m lucky I own it because I don’t think I could get a job here anymore if I didn’t. But this is a tough job and it’s hard to get hired here because, unlike some companies, I take a very long time to hire the right person because I know that I will never have to fire that person down the road. How many times have you heard someone ask, ” . . . how did that guy ever get hired in the first place . . .”

It now seems like everyone is smarter than me. We have some seriously talented people here. And, by the way, we give away more free stuff around here for the sake of the client than any business I know: because it’s the right and honorable thing to do.

We love failure too, as Thomas Edison loves it. Like Google loves it. It’s just another way ‘not’ doing something. Do you know how many failed projects Google has? To many to mention here but that doesn’t bother them. They don’t think about it much and Google believes that trying new things even though they may not work and they cost a lot of money is still worth it. Microsoft has a think tank where they staff it with people and fund it with tons of money and all they do is think about what things will look like 500 years into the future. What? Elon Musk is my failure champion. I love that guy. He fails and keeps trying over and over and over …

Before our projects are launched everyone here has permission to fail miserably because I give them complete freedom to be themselves. Missing the mark time and time again is like finding gold. They come here with a clear vision knowing that I am not going to micromanage their creativity. I wouldn’t know how to do that even if I wanted to. Many test balloons are sent up and if they burst we’ll send up another one until we get it right. Nobody sees it but us but this way is sure better than sending a project out the door not knowing the outcome. Did you know it took eleven years to launch Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet? Did you know Microsoft lost billions and billions of dollars on Xbox until it became a huge success? That kind of stuff amazes me.

Richard Kessler said that “if you want employees to do a good job, tell them what you want and encourage them to succeed. If you want them to do a great job tell them what you NEED and give them permission to fail.” Bravo! Words to live by in this business.

The final product we create is a success but no blood is shed in the process. We work until we get it right then we send it out the door. I know Generals Patton and Doolittle would have none of this philosophy in “their army” and I’m aware that the analogy is a little far fetched but it’s Sunday and I’m having a little fun with it.