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What is Failure Is Not An Option?

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Failure is not an option is a common term for a dire situation that requires the utmost attention, focus and commitment as failure is unthinkable. The term was first coined by Bill Broyles a screenwriter on the 1995 film Apollo 13. As such, the term has become associated with the space race of the 1960s and American determination to reach technical supremacy in space. It is also a general term to describe extreme determination to achieve a goal. Failure is not an option has two common meanings:

1. Dire Situations

Failure is not an option is an effective term to describe intense moments where a failure would result in unthinkable losses. For example, a pilot making a difficult landing with hundreds of lives in her hands.

2. Organizational Culture

Failure is not an option can be used to describe an organizational culture where the possibility of failure is an unmentionable topic. In such firms, risk may be ignored and risk management viewed in a negative light. Belief in success may persist even when things are obviously falling apart. When something does fail it is ignored or quietly punished.
Overview: Failure Is Not An Option
Risk Management
Strategy Failure
Organizational Culture
Definition (1)
A situation where failure brings unthinkable losses.
Definition (2)
An organizational culture in which failures big or small are unmentionable.
Attributed to
Bill Broyles
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