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  • Writer's pictureGunjan Syal

Impact From Failing 3,741 times...

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Iterations lead to success
Photo: Inc Magazine

In January 2021, I created and adopted a new approach called FAFAP. FAFAP = Failing As Fast As Possible. Things immediately became interesting and I have collected 3,741 failures year-to-date with some great success stories to match.

The motivation for this came from the strategic framework I created last year, along with an updated professional mission. I had also identified many diverse paths leading to the same value-driven, long-term objective. Trying them one at a time would have taken a lifetime, while choosing only one could produce the risk of regrets later in life. So, I gave myself a March 31, 2021 deadline to fail at as many things as possible, towards each of the carefully chosen paths.

The goal was to front-load major failures/ risks for each path through strategic planning. I layered this with accelerated and informed decisions everyday - to continue investment in a failing path, or explore other options towards the same objective. Hypothesis was that by the end of 3 months, most of the paths would either self-eliminate or merge, leaving only the most viable options for the future focus. I eventually reached daily sprints, leading to exactly 3,741 failures on March 30, 2021.

Compared to my recent history, this equates to at least 4 years' worth of failures in less than 3 months.

My volume of success stories during January-March 2021 time frame was less than one-third of the failures. Yet, they are far more impactful and more frequent than ever before. In addition, I developed and immersed myself in one of the most inclusive, innovative, dynamic and global ecosystems, for which I am eternally grateful (aka the transform this tribe).

I had shared the update above in a LinkedIn post recently, specific to the transform this tribe.

Here is a view into the all-inclusive experience from this 3-month effort at a professional level:

  • 8 organizational perspectives

  • 23 speaking/ workshop engagements (transform this and others)

  • 9 partnerships (formal and informal)

  • 5 diverse mentors/ coaches (Thank You!)

  • 2 award nominations

  • 32+ industries

  • 118+ organizations

  • 500+ one-on-one unique conversations

  • 45+ technologies

  • 48+ countries

  • 20+ timezones

There is one important theme emerging from this experience. Looking back, it feels as though I was buried under a mountain of 'glass ceilings' at the start of January 2021. Some were self-imposed (aka imposter syndrome) and some were imposed by structures in the "rooms" where I was choosing to spend time.

Front-loading failures requires you to actively seek out high probability risks and failure points.

If the probability of a particular failure is high, you seek solutions or change the situation. It is also important to consider the impact of the situation to the overall ecosystem, and not just one person or a group. This mindset removed my self-imposed glass ceilings. It also provided the confidence to articulate my needs clearly and hastily modify/ exit the situations with restrictive structures. I want to emphasize that the,

Failures are about situations and structures, not people.

By iteratively changing the situations and structures, we can find the ideal path to innovative results. This is also the secret to good governance.

As anticipated, I am now working with more streamlined paths. Over the next little while, I will scale FAFAP further. This effort will include high focus on balance and sustainability. If you are curious, reach out for a conversation and also share your own 2021 experiments. In the meantime, I hope to see you at the next workshop for a multi-perspective conversation!


Sign up for innovation workshops hosted by ‘transform this’. Join the Super Tribe for a wealth of innovation and strategy resources, including full recordings from the past workshops and discounts on future workshops.

Reach out to me for strategy, governance, planning thought leadership on post-COVID innovation efforts. I ensure business scalability and resilience.


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