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Command-Z Is My Homeboy: Managing Failure Inside of the Enterprise

by sarah-kennedy-ellis

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  • 1. MANAGING FAILURE INSIDE THE ENTERPRISE command-z is my HOMEBOY @SAYKAY 01.24.2014
  • 2. I’M SARAH. I RUN SABRE LABS. AND I’M A HYBRID OF THESE TWO CHARACTERS MEEK GEEK @ HOME; DJ CHATTY THUG KATHY @ WORK +
  • 3. WHAT IS SABRE LABS? Dedicated internal emerging technology incubator & travel trends research lab at Sabre !  RESEARCH: Identify emerging tech trends with likely industry impact over next 2-5 years !  EXPERIMENT: Deliver maximum insight with minimal investment via rapid prototyping !  PARTNER: Pursue startups, universities + R&D teams to form unique innovation partnerships
  • 4. RESEARCH: Inform internal innovation via cutting edge technology research • • •
  • 5. EXPERIMENT: Learn about new technologies via hands-on, rapid prototyping
  • 6. EXPERIMENT: Bringing the power of drone-based aerial intelligence to travel
  • 7. PARTNER: Form unique external innovation partnerships to collaborate + learn
  • 8. WE BREAK STUFF FOR A LIVING. THEN WE TELL PEOPLE HOW WE BROKE IT. SOUNDS FUN. AND IT CAN BE. ALSO REALLY, REALLY HARD.
  • 9. ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ Z   Z
  • 10. ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ ⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘⌘ Z   Z WHAT IF YOU HAD TO SHOW...
  • 11. I LEARNED HOW TO FAIL ON A GRAND SCALE AT AN EARLY AGE. ALL OF US LIKELY DID.
  • 12. 35-1
  • 13. NEXT CAME COLLEGE AT BAYLOR... #SICEM #MULKEY=SCARY
  • 14. • 10 MONTHS/300+ DAYS OF ISOLATION + RELENTLESS TORTURE • 3 TRAINERS, 50 HRS/WK, 6 MIN MILES, 100+ DEGREE HEAT • 14 MERE DAYS FOR TRYOUTS THAT ENDED IN TOTAL FAILURE TO THIS DAY IT PAINS MY EGO TO ADMIT MULKEY CUT ME, EVEN THOUGH THAT EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME PRICELESS LESSONS. IS EGO THE ENEMY?
  • 15. YES.SINGLE GREATEST IMPEDIMENT TO PERSONAL + ENTERPRISE GROWTH IS YOUR EGO’S FEAR OF admitting failure.
  • 16. so, IF COMPANIES & PEOPLE DESIRE GROWTH, HOW CAN THEY FINALLY BREAK THE CYCLE AND EMBRACE FAILURE-DRIVEN LEARNING? Me = perfection! You = dumbface who fails. RAHR!
  • 17. !hat’s a fantastic questi"n!   (CODE FOR: “I have absolutely no idea just yet, but I hope to learn as I go.”) SO, WHAT HAVE I LEARNED IN MY FAILED ATTEMPTS SO FAR?
  • 18. PEEPULZ FIRST, LOOK AROUND AT YOUR FELLOW CORPORATE
  • 19. HEALTHY CONFIDENCE beget# AUTHENTICITY SMART FAILURE beget# KNOWLEDGE + INSIGHT MORE RISKS beget MORE FAILURES AUTHENTICITY beget# LESS FEAR OF RISK (AND SUCCESSES)
  • 20. LESSONS LEARNED SO FAR ON EMBRACING + ENABLING FAILURE INSIDE THE ENTERPRISE.
  • 21. HEALTHY CONFIDENCE COMES FOR MOST ONCE THEY BELIEVE THEY’VE FOUND THEIR “MIGHTY PURPOSE” one:
  • 22. AUTHENTICITY ISN’T INNATE. IT CAN’T BE MANUFACTURED AND IT REQUIRES ACCEPTING, EVEN EMBRACING IMPERFECTION.two:
  • 23. Master P~Y’ALL DON’T WANT NONE SINCE 1994~ A TRAILBLAZER ON AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP … AND HOODY-HOO-OLOGY EVERY PLAYA IN THE SOUTH WANNA SERVE ME CAUSE I’M THE GHETTO BILL GATES BUT I’M LEGIT, YA HEARD ME?
  • 24. AUTHENTICITY ISN’T INNATE. IT CAN’T BE MANUFACTURED & IT REQUIRES ACCEPTING + EMBRACING IMPERFECTION THEORY #TWO: CAN WE GET PEOPLE TO BRAG: HOW “BIG-BONED” IS YOUR #FAILWHALE? •  ENTERPRISES ARE FILLED WITH SELF-PROCLAIMED “RISK-TAKERS” •  YET, ALL ARE CONDITIONED TO ACTIVELY AVOID ADMITTING FAILURE. three:
  • 25. TRAINWRECK-O-INSIGHT CORPORATE LAME-O V “AWEthinTicity” IS HIS ‘FAVE’ BRAND OF SLIMMING, HIGH-END BEDAZZLED JEANS, BRO. “OH NOOOOO... I’M SO OVERPRICED FOR A PLASTIC KIDS TOY TRAAAAAAAAINNNN.”
  • 26. FOUR: TOP MUST LEAD CHANGE BY EXAMPLE ß especially when the dog in question is SO DARN CUTE you simply cannot stand it. Eat your own dog food   ß  
  • 27. FIVE: KNOWING WHEN IT’S TIME TO ABORT MISSION CAN OFTEN BE HARDER THAN ADMITTING FAILURE
  • 28. OUR ABORT MISSION FAILURE IN 2013 SHOULD HAVE SAID NO FROM DAY 1 – DIDN’T FIT OUR M.O. BUT WE WERE IN SABRE LABS-PEOPLE-PLEASING MODE. DROPPED EVERYTHING DUE TO “URGENCY” OF PROJECT THEN TIME CAME THE SIGNS. I IGNORED THEM, STUPIDLY. 30 MORE DAYS OF WASTED TIME + OPPORTUNITY COST. 100% MY FAULT AS A LEADER. SHOULD HAVE TAKEN ACTION. LESSON LEARNED. HASN’T + WON’T EVER HAPPEN AGAIN.
  • 29. MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO PUSH YOUR TEAM TOWARD A WORTHY VISION, BUT ALSO THE HUMILITY TO LISTEN & CHANGE WHEN NEEDED. SIX:
  • 30. CULTURE NOW, LET’S DIVE A LITTLE FURTHER INTO THE LOVELY BEAST OF CORPORATE
  • 31. 3 EASY QUESTIONS FOR 4 TOP EXECUTIVE LEADERS 1)  FIRST BIG FAILURE IN YOUR CAREER? 2)  WHAT DID YOU LEARN OR IMPROVE? 3)  MOST RECENT FAILURE/LEARNING? “MR. MEAN FAKE EXECUTIVE GUY” (DON’T WORRY – MY EXECS LOOK MUCH KINDER) 6 WEEKS. 3 EMAIL + 2 IN-PERSON REMINDERS. ONLY 1 REPLIED. THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION TO ASK NEXT: WHY?
  • 32. DOCUMENTING FAILURE AS IT HAPPENS IS ONE OF THE MOST UNNATURAL TASKS HUMANS CAN ATTEMPT seven:
  • 33. (AKA ME) ARE ESPECIALLY BAD AT IT IN SABRE LABS VERSUS WHAT WE ORIGINALLY ASSUMED. .(we .  -  
  • 34. oversharing BUT INSTEAD I DROPPED THE BALL. I MADE EXCUSES: “REFINE SCOPE” OR “POLITICS” OR “OTHER PRIORITIES” = SABRE LABS’ “NOBLE” AMBITION
  • 35. HONESTLY? WAS MY FEAR OF WHAT EXECS WOULD THINK. Why, yes... THAT MADE ME A CORPORATE DOUCHEBAG TOO.
  • 36. WHY ARE WE SO BAD AT DOCUMENTING FAILURE? COMPANIES TRAIN US TO THINK SUCCESS IS THE ONLY NEWS WORTH SHARING. INTERNAL “WEEKLY UPDATE” OR “PERFORMANCE REPORT” EMAILS RING A BELL?
  • 37. LEADER ONE OF GREATEST THREATS TO A TEAM OR LARGE COMPANY’S ABILITY TO EMBRACE FAILURE, LEARN & REACH FULL POTENTIAL? unspoken or unaddressed fears of their EIGHT:
  • 38. MY BIGGEST ‘KNOWN’ FEARS AS A LEADER? Losing the respect of my leader(s) and/or failing to deliver what they need or expect. Losing Art Briles to (insert ANY school). Earwigs - creepy Texas bugs that won’t die. Not being capable of performing my job at the same level once I have a family. Empty swimming pools. Just in general. Failing to give enough high-quality time, attention or guidance to my employees. Taking off. (Yes, I know I work in travel.) Lawn care equipment…specifically those tools that have spinning blades.
  • 39. TRULY GREAT LEADERS MUST TAKE HARD LOOKS IN THE MIRROR OFTEN TO ENSURE THEIR OWN FEARS + INSECURITIES ARE FULLY KNOWN. ONLY THEN ARE THEY CAPABLE OF LEADING OTHERS WITH INTEGRITY, IDENTIFYING RISKS WORTH TAKING & TURNING FAILURE INTO LEARNING. LEADERS WORTH FOLLOWING FAIL BOLDLY + SHARE FREELY. DO YOU? MY LAST FEW TIDBITS OF FAILOSOPHY
  • 40. PUT ALL OF YOURSELF OUT THERE, BIG COMPANY OR SMALL. FAILING PUBLICLY CREATES EFFICIENT, PRICELESS FEEDBACK LOOPS THAT DON’T EXIST WHEN YOUR FAILURES ARE KEPT PRIVATE.
  • 41. FIND YOUR MIGHTY PURPOSE & TEACH WITH HUMILITY & PATIENCE. EMBRACE LIFE’S TRAINWRECKS AS THEY BECOME PRICELESS WISDOM. ACT LIKE THE LEADER YOU WISHED OTHERS WOULD’VE BEEN TO YOU. AND FEARLESSLY SHARE, FREELY TAKE RISKS + PASSIONATELY LEAD. final thoughts…
  • 42. THANK YOU. - @SAYKAY
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