How to Reward Failure but Still Succeed


Innovation is a term used far too often in the business world. But that does not mean it’s not important.

In order to truly succeed, your company/brand/product must stand out from the crowd. It must offer something, do something, or solve something completely unique. This requires innovative thinking.

In order to recruit, retain, and inspire innovative thinkers, we should incentivize it. While it’s true that many innovations are accidents or random, creative thinking is a skill that can be practiced and honed. And in order to encourage more of it at your company, you must remove the obstacles to it.

That means first recognizing that not everything you do will be a success. Failure is far more common. Organizations and leaders must acknowledge this fact, and convince their teams that failure will not be punished.

In fact, in many of the leading innovative organizations, failure is rewarded. When you reward failure, you incentivize people to try new things, come up with creative solutions to problems, and take initiative. You eliminate the stigma that comes with failure, and get people thinking about things in bold new ways.

At this point, a lot of managers and team leaders will be shaking their heads. The concept makes sense, they’ll think. But won’t this lead to a lot more failure? What if the big breakthrough or success never comes?

These are common fears, and completely natural. The key is in the message, and in how you reward employees who think outside the box.

You are not paying people to fail. What you are paying them for, is to try. Failure is just a step on the road to success. So you must be willing to invest in the process, not just the success.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do reward employees for new ideas
  • Do highlight all the behind the scenes work that goes into successes
  • Do spread the word throughout the organization
  • Do train people on how to harness their creativity
  • Don’t fire people for trying

Three Types of Leaders


When it comes to leadership, there is no one-size-fits-all model to success. In fact, there is a remarkable variety in the skills and characteristics of great leaders. And even though many of us often look for the things they all have in common, it can be equally important to understand the things that make them unique.

Broadly speaking, there are three different styles that great leaders tend to inhabit.

Style #1 = Vocal and positive

The first type of leader is the “rah, rah” leader. He or she rally the troops with inspirational speeches. They have great vision and strong communication skills. They’re able to win people over to their way of thinking, and get people to believe in the overall mission of the organization, highlighting how each person’s effort moves the team closer to success.

Team members are often drawn to the positivity of the leader. Team morale is high, and so is effort.

When things are going well, this leader will give relentless praise. When things are not going as well, this leader will be there to offer compassion, and use his or her vision to chart a new course, never letting the team give up or get too stressed.

Style #2 = Vocal and negative

The second type of leader is more confrontational than the first. They expect the very best out of their teams, and will step up and tell you when you are not working up to those expectations. They use a healthy mixture of carrots and sticks, rewarding performance that goes above and beyond, but also punishing performance that falls short.

This leader uses intimidation to his or her advantage. They don’t care whether or not they are liked, as long as they are respected. When things are going well, this leader is happy. When things are not going as well, this leader is going to shake things up.

Style #3 = Non-vocal

The third type of leader is not as vocal as the other two. They are not going to make the inspirational speeches, and they are not going to motivate by intimidation. This leader is going to use his or her own work-ethic and standards as an example for the rest of the team.

Whether things are going well or not, this leader will be hard at work, doing whatever they can do to help the organization succeed. They stress teamwork and dedication, and inspire others based off of their own work ethic.

The very best leaders among us can vary styles between all three of the above, using different versions of leadership depending on the current conditions facing, and morale of the organization.

Top Advertising Blog Posts

Advertising is obviously a big part of marketing. Many people mistakenly understand the two terms to mean the same thing. As marketers, we know there is far more to marketing than just advertising. Nevertheless, we need to know advertising if we’re to succeed.

For that reason, we went back and collected the most widely-read blog posts on the subject. Here are the top ten advertising blog posts from the last several years:

  1. The State of Social Media Advertising
  2. How Many Times Will the Same Person See Your Ad?
  3. Ad Blockers are Here to Stay
  4. Not All Ad Placements are Created Equal
  5. Brand Advertising vs. Direct Response
  6. The Two T’s of Advertising Success
  7. Ethical Issues in Ad Targeting
  8. Selling with Sex
  9. Deceptive Advertising
  10. Marketing Myths: People Read

Zach Heller Marketing Week in Review


Think about the current limits (or lack thereof) of technology when it comes to automating simple tasks. It’s not hard to imagine a near-future where a lot of marketing process are fully-automated, from the sending of emails, to the setting of budgets, to reporting and key decision making. Even things like design and copywriting might soon be done more effectively by machines than by humans. What skills do you have that will still be valuable in ten years? What skills should you learn before it’s too late?

Here are last week’s posts, in case you missed them:

  1. Top Pricing Blog Posts
  2. The Unintended Consequences of a Great Subject Line
  3. Two Theories on Goal Setting

Happy Saturday!

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Two Theories on Goal Setting


There are two competing theories on goal setting. We covered both of them last week:

Both theories have their advocates. And both have their detractors. So the question is, which one works best?

And as is often the case, the answer is, it depends. In this case, it depends on how you define what a goal is.

The benefits of using more achievable goals are improved morale from attaining said goals. It can bring teams closer together, and increase passion for the work at hand. People who argue for this approach define a goal is something they expect to be able to achieve. Goals, in this case, are an expectation, a predicted result.

Detractors would say that’s not a goal. A goal is something beyond the expected result. Because a goal should be used to motivate people to overperform. That’s why they use stretch goals. Achieving expectations is all well and good, but in order to improve over time, they set stretch goals their teams can aspire toward.

In the case of stretch goals, coming up short is okay. In fact, if you always hit your goals, you are not setting them high enough, they’ll argue.

So how do you define goals? The answer to that question is the answer to which approach will work best for you.