"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure." — Julia Child
Fear of unknown, consequent failure and complacency are some of the major reasons for resisting change. There are some people out there who have no fear of the unknown, and who can simply decide logically what they want to do and do it, but for the rest of us, we have to make the unfamiliar feel familiar.
Fear of failure is a genuinely scary thing for many people, and often the reason that individuals do not attempt the things they would like to accomplish. But the only true failure is failure to make the attempt. If you don't try, you gain nothing, and life is too short a thing to waste.
But to have success, management must create an environment where it is safe to fail. Failure is an expected part of the process of finding solutions. If workers feel that they have to “hit one out of the park” every time they come up with an improvement idea, they will be reluctant to provide their ideas. In a Lean environment, failure and success should be met with the same level of enthusiasm and support.
As a manager, you should work to create an environment where improvements are encouraged and failures are embraced. An environment where ideas are continually tested and then those that work are adopted. This cycle of continually learning and improving is at the heart of Toyota’s success.
Management needs to establish an environment where failure is acceptable. Failures can either destroy or advance our goals, but it's our response to them that truly determines the outcome. If we are too afraid of failure to try then we will never know if we can improve our situation.