Estimating and Preconstruction

Accepting Failure

By July 13, 2022 No Comments

“Successful people are motivated by failure and they don’t view it as a signal to quit; it’s their inspiration to work harder or try different methods,” –Bill Wooditch, CEO of Wooditch Enterprises, and author of Fail More: Embrace, Learn, and Adapt to Failure As a Way to Success.  

We have a popular saying here at Beck Technology: “We don’t know what we don’t know.” We are relentlessly curious about how we can solve construction problems because we have experienced firsthand how detrimental the inherent risks of the industry can be. We also know that a group of passionate and creative people can come up with solutions to fix these problems. But we wouldn’t be able to do that without giving the Beck Tech team license to experiment and accept failure.  

The word ‘failure’ might as well be the equivalent of an f-bomb. For many people, the fear of failing is so truly debilitating that they will do *anything* to prevent it. The fear of failure prevents us from accomplishing our goals and being successful.  

Thomas Edison quote, "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."Think back to three things you have wanted to do or achieve throughout your life but never did. Be honest with yourself, what stopped you from doing that thing? Money? Timing? Or is money and timing just an excuse so you don’t have to admit you were afraid to fail?  

Failure is always an option at Beck Technology. Why? Because failure teaches valuable lessons, shows where you can improve, and above all, leads to better products and services. Without trying—and accepting that with trial comes failure—no business would grow.  

As long as an idea comes from our core values (passion, innovation, and caring) and aligns with the Beck Technology mission, then Beck Tech employees are encouraged to find out what they don’t know. For example, one of the permanent initiatives of the Beck Technology marketing department is to receive feedback—both good and bad—from clients. Once, the marketing team sent out snail mail letters with coffeeshop gift cards in them requesting quotes from DESTINI Estimator users. We didn’t hear back from anyone. For a few hundred dollars, the marketing department learned that wasn’t the best way to reach people. However, though quite unconventional, posting in Reddit has provided great insight into the estimator’s mind. Eric Fritsche, Head of Beck Technology’s Innovations Lab says more product development ideas have landed on the cutting room floor than have landed in one of our preconstruction software.  

You never know until you try.  

“It’s Fine to Celebrate Success but it is More Important to Heed the Lessons of Failure.” – Bill Gates

Every successful multibillionaire has commented on the importance of accepting failure—Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk have all embraced how failure can lead to success. Some of the best experiments have led to the best outcomes. Without experimenting and the willingness to fail (over and over again), we wouldn’t have vaccines or medicine that cures diseases.  

When it comes to doing business these days, you can’t rely on the traditional way we’ve always done it in construction. Owners, like the world, are changing. Price alone won’t get you ahead of the competition. It was as early as 2013 that success was becoming dependent on more than just price. In a study of over 25,000 companies’ Return on Assets (ROA), researchers at the Harvard Business Review found that the most successful companies “compete on differentiators other than price.” (hbr.org) For the construction industry, if you are one that fears failure, you might be thinking, ‘no way. This doesn’t apply to us.”  

But it does. And will continue to mean even more…become imperative even, for general contractors to ditch the old way of doing things and fully embrace change, innovation, and digitization. Jeff Bezos said, “Failure and invention are inseparable twins.” You will fail when you begin to try new things and that’s okay. Failure isn’t a flaw of your business. Failure gives you the ability to improve your process and your product. 

James Dyson, founder, and inventor of the Dyson Company developed 5,126 prototypes that failed. He is now worth $4.6 billion. Dyson says, “Nothing beats the thrill of invention. Letting people go out and try their ideas, getting them totally involved, and unleashing new thinking. They’re not bound to any methodology—in fact, the stranger and riskier, the better.” (nymag.com) Though it is important to know when to throw in the towel on an idea, the willingness to explore and experiment with new ideas, products, and ways of doing things and learning lessons throughout the process is what will lead to your company’s growth and success.  

 What is one failure that lead to success that you’ve experienced? Tell us about it in the comments.