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Dr. Amy Edmondson on Why Failure is the Key to Success
Dr. Amy Edmondson on How to Fail Well and Succeed Better

Have you ever wondered how embracing failure could become a stepping stone to growth and enlightenment? What if we told you that there’s a paradoxical concept known as “intelligent failures” that can drive progress and personal development? Today, we journey down this path with Dr. Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School and author of the transformative book “Right Kind of Wrong.” 

Together, we unpacked the concept of “intelligent failures,” a paradoxical term that cleverly encapsulates how failures can be the stepping stones to progress. We also ventured into psychological safety, a concept born out of Amy’s research on medication error rates and its profound impact on how we respond to failure. We delved into the challenging aspects of learning from mistakes and how confirmation bias can significantly contribute to this issue.

Want to learn the 12 philosophies that the most successful people use to create a limitless life? Pre-order John R. Miles’s new book, Passion Struck, which will be released on February 6, 2024.

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“In the pursuit of success, embracing failure is not just a choice; it’s a necessity.”


Hear the secrets and philosophy of the World’s GREATEST high achievers every Tuesday and Thursday, and tune in each week for an inspirational Momentum Friday solo message.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast AddictPocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsListen NotesAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube below.


Dr. Amy Edmondson on Why Failure Is the Key to Success

As we delve into the recesses of academic inquiry, Dr. Amy Edmondson imparts profound insights into the intricacies of managing emotions and fostering self-awareness—a critical juncture where the personal meets the academic. Her illuminating discourse underscores the significance of cultivating psychological safety in scholarly environments, establishing a fertile ground for candid communication and constructive feedback. This, in turn, forms the crucible in which personal and professional growth are meticulously nurtured.

The conversation took an interesting turn as we talked about applying teamwork and checklists in high-stress conditions. We further dove into the complexity of failure and the critical role of self-awareness. Systems thinking and embracing failure also came under discussion, highlighting the importance of these aspects in preventing failure and fostering personal growth. We concluded our conversation with an in-depth discussion on managing emotions and the importance of creating a psychologically safe environment in the workplace. Tune in for an enlightening episode that will give you a new perspective on failure.

Join us in this intellectual odyssey led by Dr. Amy Edmondson, a trailblazer in the scholarly exploration of failing well. In our quest for knowledge, prepare to be enriched, enlightened, and academically fortified with a fresh and profound perspective on the symbiotic relationship between failure and learning.

In this episode, you will discover how to:

  • Redefine your perception of success by embracing the concept of “intelligent failures.”
  • Understand the pivotal role of psychological safety in the process of learning from mistakes.
  • Navigate complex psychological phenomena such as confirmation bias and fundamental attribution errors.
  • Analyze real-world case studies, including incidents from United Airlines and NASA, to understand strategies for navigating complex failures.
  • Gain insights into the practical application of systems thinking, teamwork, and checklists in high-stress situations.
  • Create an environment conducive to open communication and constructive feedback.
  • And much, much more!
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]!
Passion Struck Podcast
Passion Struck Podcast
343 | Why Failure Is the Key to Success | Dr. Amy Edmondson | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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Starter Packs

Dr. Amy Edmondson quote from the Passion Struck podcast Failure well managed can be a catalyst for transformation and achievement

New to the show? These Starter Packs are collections of our most popular episodes grouped by topic, and we now have them also on Spotify. You can also browse starter packs for existing listeners to find your old favorites. Every week, John interviews everyday heroes from all walks of life. Learn how to subscribe to the show and never miss a new episode and topic.

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Bridging Dr. Edmondson’s Work and Passion Struck’s Commitment to an Intentional Life

Right Kind of Wrong by Dr. Amy Edmondson for the Passion Struck recommended books.

Dr. Amy Edmondson’s work resonates deeply with the core themes of the “Passion Struck” podcast and the concept of leading an intentional life. Here’s how her work connects with these ideas:

  1. Embracing Failure as a Path to Growth: Dr. Edmondson’s research and insights on the value of embracing failure align with the podcast’s mission to inspire individuals to overcome challenges and setbacks on their journey to success. “Passion Struck” encourages listeners to view failures as opportunities for growth and transformation, mirroring Dr. Edmondson’s emphasis on “intelligent failures” that drive progress.
  2. Psychological Safety and Personal Development: The podcast explores the importance of creating an environment of psychological safety in which individuals can take risks, share their ideas, and learn from their mistakes. Dr. Edmondson’s work reinforces the idea that such an environment is essential for personal and professional development, aligning with the podcast’s message of fostering a safe space for self-improvement.
  3. Learning, Innovation, and Purpose: Dr. Edmondson’s research highlights the role of learning and innovation in organizational success. Her insights on systems thinking, teamwork, and the practical application of knowledge resonate with the podcast’s emphasis on intentional living and continuous improvement. “Passion Struck” encourages listeners to reflect on their highest goals and challenges misconceptions about growth mindset, which aligns with Dr. Edmondson’s work on embracing mistakes as opportunities for growth.
  4. Inspiration and Impact: Dr. Amy Edmondson’s journey from academia to public speaking serves as a reminder that personal growth and improvement are attainable for anyone willing to embrace the learning zone. This aligns with the podcast’s goal of inspiring and empowering listeners to make a meaningful impact in their lives and the world around them.

In summary, Dr. Amy Edmondson’s work provides a strong academic foundation for the concepts promoted by the “Passion Struck” podcast, including the importance of embracing failure, fostering psychological safety, and leading an intentional life. Her insights complement the podcast’s mission to inspire, enlighten, and equip individuals with the tools and perspectives needed to achieve their highest goals and aspirations.

Say Thanks To Amy Edmondson

If you enjoyed this interview with Amy Edmondson, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout on Twitter:

Click here to show Amy Edmondson your thoughts about today’s episode on Twitter!

Click here to let John R. Miles know about your number one takeaway from this episode!

And if you want us to answer your questions or you have a topic you would like John to discuss on one of our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].

Resources From The Show With Amy Edmondson

Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!

  • Visit Amy’s website to learn more about her work.
  • Twitter:
  • LinkedIn:
  • Buy Amy Edmondson’s book ‘Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well’ by Clicking HERE
  • The episode with Eduardo Briceño on On Break Free From The Performance Paradox
  • Familiarize yourself with Amy Edmondson’s background, achievements, and notable work in the field of organizational psychology, particularly her research on psychological safety and learning from failures.
  • Develop a list of thoughtful questions and discussion points related to failing well, psychological safety, and how these concepts apply to leadership, teams, and organizations.
  • Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates on new episodes, guest interviews, and exclusive content designed to help you become the best version of yourself.
  • Read Amy Edmondson’s books, especially “The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth,” and relevant research papers to gain a deeper understanding of her concepts and insights.
  • Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to join our passionate community and stay connected with like-minded individuals seeking personal growth and inspiration.
  • Share this episode with your friends, family, and colleagues who could benefit from learning how to ask for what they want and need in life. Spread the power of asking and helping others unlock their potential.
  • Leave a review on your favorite podcast platform, such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, to let us know how this episode resonated with you and to help others

Catch my interview with Dr. Caroline Leaf on Parenting or a Healthy and Confident Mind.

About Today’s Guest, Amy Edmondson

Passion Struck album cover episode 343 with Dr. Amy Edmondson on why failure is the key to success

Dr. Amy Edmondson is a distinguished academic and thought leader in the fields of organizational behavior and leadership. She holds the Novartis Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she has made significant contributions to the understanding of leadership, team dynamics, and organizational culture.

As an accomplished author, Dr. Edmondson has published numerous articles and books that have had a lasting impact on the business world and academia. Her groundbreaking book, “Right Kind of Wrong,” challenges conventional notions of failure and introduces the concept of “intelligent failures” as a catalyst for progress and personal development.

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Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to better, live better, and impact the world.


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Passion Struck’s mission is to unlock the power of intentionality for the benefit of us all. To create a world where we live better, be better, and impact the world through our unique and powerful content.

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