I discovered a
I discovered a long time ago that not much is learned from success but rather from mistakes, of which we sometimes consider failures.
These minor or major failures, shape our perspective and provide guidance on how to do things better and smarter.
There is so much emphasis on success in business that we often forget how it actually gets achieved. Success just does not happen, it’s not easy and it comes along with plenty of frustration, anxiety and sometimes tears.
Show me a successful businessperson and I will show you someone who most likely failed quite a bit during his or her career journey.
In this age of instant gratification, it is not surprising that overnight success in business seems to be expected by some. Unfortunately, as nice as instant success would be, it’s trial and error that is the foundation of business progress.
If you really want to see more innovation at your organization and more successful outcomes, it starts with re-thinking your perspective on mistakes and failures.
Consider the following ideas as a place to begin:
• Start at the top: Effective and successful corporate leaders typically ascend to their positions via their accomplishments, which are most likely accompanied by years of starts and stops, risk-taking and failures.
In order for other employees to realize that they can take risks, which may result in a few failures, they need to see the boss lead by example.
• Establish a work environment where failure is okay: Smart organizations focus on creating and sustaining work environments that support employees who stick their neck out, possibly make a few errors, brush themselves off and persistently pursue excellence.
Companies known for innovation have these environments where results-oriented individuals thrive. On the other hand, employees in a work environment where failures result in punitive action by the employer, become risk adverse, tend to not offer up new ideas and go through the motions with their jobs.
• Hire the right people: In order for business success to occur in the short and long term, you need people on staff who love stretching their minds and abilities.
These are the people who often drive organizational results and at the same time identify new products and ways to deliver better customer service. In the right work environment, these risk-taking and innovative high achievers make magic happen.
A couple of failures along the way for these top performers are simply benchmarks to them, not roadblocks.
Failure is all about learning how to handle adversity and getting better. Failure teaches us life-long lessons, many of which we should apply in and outside of work.
Like the saying goes, “success is failure turned inside out.” It’s such a true statement, and anyone who has experienced business success appreciates how important it is to allow for a margin of error if you plan to achieve your goals.
Pat Perry is host of the national Success Wave podcast, business book author, keynote speaker, former ERC president, columnist and NEO Business Hall of Fame member.