Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or so our neighbors on Sand Hill Road here in the heart of Silicon Valley will tell you. They wear failure like a badge of honor, because it shows they were brave enough to take real risks. True to our roots, The Hewlett Foundation has long embraced failure, too. A perfect grantmaking record would be a sign that we're not taking the risks that are necessary to accomplish our goals. So, we welcome failure. Not for itself, but for what it can teach us about our work, and how we can do it better.That kind of growth requires real candor, introspection, and honesty. And there's risk in that, too—exposing ourselves to criticism, pointing out our own errors in judgment, taking the chance that we might not like what we find. We don't often think of it this way, but honesty is a risky virtue, maybe the riskiest. It's one that can push us out to the fringe—of what's comfortable for us and acceptable for our organizations. Real honesty about our failures takes real bravery. But it's worth the risk.

Learning From Failure
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