Isn't It Ironic? Failure, learning and being disrupted

* UPDATE May 17, 2018:  They Fixed It.  The Disrupt HR Charlotte Team has fixed the misspelling on they made on the title slide.  There is certainly a learning for all involved in this small failure. Read the full story below.  

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to speak at Disrupt HR Charlotte.  The event included eight curated speakers and an audience of about 300 people.  It was hosted at BB&T Ballpark where the Charlotte Knights baseball team plays.  Most in the audience were human resources professionals.

The format is a five minute talk on a disruptive HR topic using 20 slides that automatically rotate every 15 seconds.  This forces the speakers to move quickly and stay on point.  The format is challenging but fun.  It keeps the audience engaged and speakers on their toes.

BRian experiments never fail.JPG

My talk was titled "Embracing Failure as Learning:  Innovation and Risk Taking In The HR World".  This is a topic I am passionate about.  I believe strongly that companies need to create workplace cultures that allow for failure to occur more often if they hope to be more innovative and progressive.  Key to my talk was the expression "experiments never fail".  In fact I wore a shirt for the even that had that phrase written across the front and "failure=learning" on the back.  The talk was a success and the feedback from the audience was great.

As a follow up the videos are posted to the national Disrupt HR site and linked on  This can serve as a great marketing tool for consultants such as myself.  As a speaker I was sent a preview version of the video.  I noticed that they had created a new title slide and misspelled the word failure in the slide.  This is the ironic part.  A talk about failure that has the word failure misspelled.

Frustrated, I reached out the organizers and requested that it be fixed before it was published.  Unfortunately my initial email received no response.  The video is now live on the Disrupt HR site and on with the misspelling.  I wrote to the organizers again today and they responded quickly promising to get it fixed.

Is there a lesson in here?  Well if experiments never fail, then there is a learning from this experience.  My company brand and personal brand are reflected in this mistake, but at the same time the misspelling in the title almost looks like it was done by me on purpose.  Most viewers will never notice it and some of those who do might think it was done by me on purpose.  What I have learned through my years in the business world is to roll with it.

Jan Carlzon, the former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines refers to mistakes as "Moments of Truth".  They test people and the character of a company.  I am pleased to see that the Disrupt HR team used their mistake and moment of truth to make a nice recovery.  Kudos to them.

I hope you will check out my talk and glean some insights from it.  Below is the video.  I welcome your comments and feedback.