Companies should look at the times they fail as opportunities for learning important lessons — and could come back more successful as a result.

So says research from the University of Colorado Denver School of Business.

The research found that lessons learned from success weren’t as helpful as the knowledge learned from failure. Company management tended to retain the lessons learned when projects or initiatives failed longer than when companies succeeded in certain projects or met goals.

Organizations shouldn’t try to push failure to the back of management’s minds and move on to the next project or initiative, the study found. The study also reported that organizations should rethink the knee jerk reaction to failure — the firing of those held responsible. Instead, researchers suggested keeping managers of failed initiatives and projects, debriefing them regarding what they believe were their mistakes, and then applying them later, as applicable.

In addition, researchers encouraged employers to neither ignore failure nor brand employees responsible for the outcome as failures. Failures instead should be looked at as great chances to learn and share the information throughout the organization.

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