Failure: The Secret to Success

People didn’t want to talk to me very much after that. It was a pretty difficult time. You know it’s the last race of the year you don’t have a chance to redeem yourself. We lost the championship by one point so I tried to not be too hard on myself but yes, I am very hard on myself especially. I mean this is something that doesn’t leave mind very quickly.

Christian Imhof (engineer, Honda Performance Development)
Danica Patrick (Race Car Driver)
Danica Patrick (Race Car Driver) (Source: Wikipedia)

I can remmeber when I was out at the go-kart track one day. You know used a stopwatch in time the lap and I remember I kept giving myself like one second less like “okay was that 41 seconds that time? Was that 40 seconds that time to get around?” I like to be able to see the improvement and with racing it’s very obvious. You know I can see the direct result of my effort. We are at Homestead Florida. This is my first IndyCar race and there was a crash. I don’t remember anything, the car was on fire and you know. My brain was covering up for the fact that this was a bit of a hightened situation that I shouldn’t be aware of what’s going on right now but… I woke up in a Medical Center and there was a bright light above me and father Bob is over here to the left and I’ve got needles in my arm and you know that was probably the worst moment. You are driving your car and you feel frightened a little bit we bump up against that feeling as much as we can to try and push that limit further and get comfortable there and then push it again. So you know you’re constantly on the brink of crashing because that’s the fastest.

Danica Patrick (Race Car Driver)

Failure is a sight a byproduct of pushing the envelope. You push the envelope of performance until things fail. When you fail it’s not necessarily looked at as a bad thing as long as you learn from it and make something positive out of it. Where Honda started as a motorcycle company.

John Kessler (engineer, Honda Performance Development)

down thoughout his history that’s been engineering oriented engineers for better or worse always want to change things and advance.

Jim Keller (Sr. Mgr. / Chief Engineer, Honda Vehicle Chassis Design)
Takeo Fukui (President and CEO Honda Motor co., Ltd. (Global Honda))
Takeo Fukui (President and CEO Honda Motor co., Ltd. (Global Honda)) (Source: referenceforbusiness.com)

All the demands from Soichiro Honda were to take risks and fail. The idea is that you can fail 100 times as long as you succeed once. “Trial and Error” sums up Soichiro Honda’s ideas. We can only make fantastic advances in technology through many failures. I think that’s what he wanted to say.

Takeo Fukui (President and CEO Honda Motor co., Ltd. (Global Honda))

the bottom of the engine. I mean there was pistons, there was con rods or pieces of block and bearings inside and one of the Japanese engineers it was here on assignment was all concerned because he was afraid that there were other pieces of the engine out there on the racetrack that they failed to pick up and he was all concerned that our competition would learn our know-how and we’d lose our confidentiality and I’m saying ‘what’s there to worry?’ I mean there’s no one would even want to know what’s in our engine. We improved it step by step to a point where finally in ’95 we won our first race and in ’96 we won the championship.

Robert Clarke (President (retired), Honda Performance Development)

One of my worst ideas happened the very first week I worked at Honda. My boss said OK, I’m going to Japan in a couple weeks and I need proposals for new colors for all ’96 models it’s like Civic and Accord and Accord Wagon and I just completely panicked because I mean literally I was asked to do more in my first week at Honda than I had done for years at my previous job. I really wanted to do an orange car and I decided okay, ’96 Civic we’re gonna do orange. Really without doing my homework completely I proposed this color. I get in this big room and it’s, you know, Sales Engineering inside it’s the balance of powers or everybody makes the decisions, you know, to see what goes into mass production and I think they’re all looking at this new person, this new designer think a wow, maybe we should trust her so they went ahead and they put the orange into production and the dealers flipped like ‘What is this hideous color?’ It’s like stop production of this immediately. I mean you take a chance. I think everybody in that room understood they were taking a chance but they were willing to take that chance.

Margo Beylen (Manager, Honda Auto Design, Color And Trim)

That’s okay, right? I mean if you’ve got a boss that’s telling you to take a chance and if you make a mistake or fail you understand just try not to do it again and try to learn from that. That’s a good thing.

Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development)

I tell him Edison, you know Edison to do the light bulb and he said I never failed. It just didn’t work 10,000 times. And that 10,001. it lit up so it’s if you look at it that way, were those failures?

Dave Marek (Director, Honda Advanced Design Studio)

Source: Youtube

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