Originally posted by Zero Strategist on the 4Change blog.

My experience since I started working in the social media field is that the failures are where you learn the most as a community manager, a social media manger, a change manger, a professional and as a person.

Twitter Fail Whale

Yet, organizations tend to have a low tolerance for failure even though it is failure that often leads to innovations and improvements in products, services or processes. Leaders often blame change managers or teams who do not control the source or circumstances which cause the “failure.” Having a low tolerance for small failures can actually lead to more catastrophic failures.

Though many orgs flaunt their “lessons learned” they are not all written down, distributed, or accessible depending on the enterprise architecture. Too often, these lessons end up on individuals’ computers, shared drives or locked away in portals and are not shared in order to prevent repeated mistakes. Most organizations lack the enterprise 2.0 tools that they need to help their workers become more efficient at their jobs.  This lack of tools can prevent individuals from learning from their previous missteps and reaching full productive work potential. There is also general lack of integrated risk management systems in business for employees to submit risks to the organization for tracking, sourcing and mitigation. The workers on the front lines of the change are often the first to see signs of trouble yet, in most org structures, they have the least interaction with upper management.

I think that the previous blog post by Tom is a great lead into this month’s discussion and #4CHANGE chat topic.  The 4Change Team thinks that this topic is a really important. :)

#4 Change September Chat Topic: Change Failure / Change #Fails

#4Change Chat Questions on Change Failure:

  1. What is the value of failure?
  2. What roles do change failures play in furthering larger change campaigns in organization?
  3. What constitutes change failure / success inside and outside of your organization?
  4. As a change/community manager, how do you handle separation / transition issues with the community and the organization?
  5. How do failures in society, business and government affect change in non-profits?


Here are some background definitions to stir your thoughts about this months topic.

Failure (definitions from Visual Thesaurus):

  • an act that fails
  • an event that does not accomplish it’s intended purpose
  • lack of success
  • a person with a record of failing, someone who loses consistently
  • an unexpected omission
  • inability to discharge all your debts as they come due
  • loss of ability to function normally
  • condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning
  • a mistake resulting from neglect
  • your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you)
  • an event that happens
  • an act that does not achieve it’s intended goal


  • an event that accomplishes it’s intended purpose
  • an attainment that is successful
  • a state of prosperity or fame
  • a person with a record of successes
  • the condition of prospering; having good fortune
  • the act of achieving an aim
  • an event that happens


  • an event that occurs when something passes from one stat or phase to another
  • a relational difference between states; especially between states before and after some event
  • the action of changing something
  • the result of alteration or modification
  • a thing that is different phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon
  • something done (usually as apposed to something said)

Please feel free to leave question and comments on this subject and if you have open case studies or links to resources on the topic. Visit the 4Change blog to join the conversation!

September #4Change Chat Topic: Change Failure
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