by Jonathan Jones
I’m always intrigued when underperforming businesses become so scared of failure that they avoid taking any chances at all — only to discover that they’ve become a dreary model for mediocrity rather than the efficient, productive organizations they set out to be.
What their leaders sometimes fail to see is that failure — even repeated failure — when used intelligently can frequently yield an invaluable opportunity for the type of leadership that inspires engaged workforces that create and execute successful platforms.
Notably many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs encountered significant setbacks early in their careers. They faced jeers from competitors, criticism from colleagues, failed ideas, and rank-and-file hostility, yet remained unfazed.
Truly “successful” leaders and entrepreneurs recognize that setbacks are opportunities for growth and improvement. Such leaders foster in their people the belief that success is a mindset founded on the conviction that they will achieve their objectives largely as a consequence of mistakes they make along the way. The business world regularly credits those teams that, when confronted with multiple difficulties or outright company failures, learned from their errors, matured from their misfortunes and battled even harder to achieve their goals.
Having as much trust in their followers as they have in their own visions is essential for leaders. My counsel to any leader is to strive for greatness while recognizing, even anticipating, the possibility of failure. Learn from mistakes; remain positive and appreciative; and continue to push and inspire your team to greater success. If you do so on a continuous basis, you will develop a culture in which people desire to work because they are certain they will eventually — and unquestionably — succeed.
Jonathan Jones (Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.