How do you learn and overcome from Failure in Sales?

14 April 2021

All successful innovations are alike; each failure fails in its own way.” 


In today’s working culture there is a known stigma attached to failure, no matter the profession you are working in. When we fail at a task or missing a quarterly target, we experience feelings of embarrassment and are quite often ashamed of failing. However, Dr Samuel West, a licensed psychologist with a PhD in Organizational Psychology spoke at our Global Sales Transformation event in 2019 about how the idea of failure should be embraced. He was fed up with the narrative of success, tired of worshipping success in innovation and sales and so decided to curate a museum based around failures, The Museum of Failure 

“Museum of Failure is a collection of failed products and services from around the world. The majority of all innovation projects fail, and the museum showcases these failures to provide visitors with a fascinating learning experience. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation.” 

Dr Samuel took the time to discuss the notion that the hallmark that of an innovative company is that they do make plenty of mistakes and they have plenty of failures. He openly went into further detail around failure, using examples from his own experience, his doctoral studies and in real life. Some of the questions covered in this seminar were: 

  • Why is failure such an issue?  
  • Why is it such a sensitive topic? 
  • Why is Psychological Safety important to help learn from failure? 
  • How can we generate Psychological Safety for ourselves? 
  • How do we change the culture around failure in our organisations? 

In a highly entertaining part of this Seminar, Dr Samuel also discussed some amusing failures that are a part of his museum, these include:  

Apple Newton, Vasa Ship, Itera Bicycle, Nokia N-Gage, Google Glass, Coca-Cola BlãK, Bofors Toothpaste, Colgate Beef Lasagne, Twitter Peek, Bic for Her + many more… 

Learning is the only way to turn failure into success. We need to give ourselves some time to discuss and reflect on our failures, our team’s failures, because this is when learning happens, and innovation begins. 

To watch Dr Samuel West at the Global Sales Transformation Conference discussing ‘Emotional Avoidance & Failing, To Succeed’, click on the play button above.