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Embrace Failure and Learn From it

Advancing SundownThere are literally thousands of articles and blogs on how to succeed in business.  But for every story of success in business, there is another story of failure.  According to a study by the Small Business Association approximately 44% of business survive after four years.  That is less than half.

Business is about taking risks, and in doing so, that means failure is possible.  Failure is not something that should be ignored, in fact just the opposite, it should be embraced.  We should learn from it.  When you know what failure looks like you can avoid it.  And when you know what it feels like, you will do anything to prevent it from happening again.  Part of knowing which road to take is learning about what roads not to take, here are 7 roads to steer clear of:

1. Negativity

Colin Powell has a saying, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”  What he is talking about is the ripple effect that a leader can have on their team and their organization.  A constant sign of negativity usually engulfs businesses that are failing.  Avoid it like the plague.

2. Don’t KISS

Many failed leaders don’t follow the KISS principle – Keep it Simple Stupid.  Businesses that fail often have too much complexity to it.  They are bogged down by layers of bureaucracy and design matrix-ed organizations that are so complex nobody is able to navigate through them.  Organizations must have clarity of purpose to succeed.

3. Invincibility

Confidence is a must to be successful.  But far too often that develops into overconfidence, arrogance, and a feeling of “I can do no wrong.”  When you feel that – Stop.  You are headed down a path of failure. Trust me, I have been there and done that, and the road back is long and hard.

4.  Fear

The close cousin to invincibility is lack of confidence, or analysis paralysis.  There is a risk of making good decisions at the wrong time, when it’s too late.  Look at Blockbuster Video, MCI, and others that take too long making decisions through committees and groups – they all failed.

5. Complacency

Never be satisfied.  Some leaders and organizations achieve success but then fail to grow.  They become complacent.  They quickly become irrelevant because their products, services or systems are the rotary phones of today’s digital world.

6. Uninspired

Those who fail, often times just never took the time to innovate, be creative, or come up with crazy ideas to challenge their competitors.  These are the ones that avoid seminars, webinars, and podcasts because they are “too busy” or think they are a “waste of time.”

7. Giving Up

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”  We will discuss this in future blogs, but this is perhaps the greatest lesson in business.

In future blogs we will explore failure further in all its glorious, horrible, and painful detail.  We must understand it and then embrace it, so we can find ways to avoid it, learn from it, and at times – pick yourself up and move on from it.

My name is Mark Behl.  My passion is leadership.  I share ideas, not lectures.  If you would like to share an idea with me, feel free to email me at markbehl1@gmail.com.  I hope you come back for future posts.


About Mark Behl

Having fun as an innovative Healthcare Executive building high-performing teams that accomplish great things...Let's share ideas.


4 thoughts on “Embrace Failure and Learn From it

  1. Back in the day, when I was working a lot, I used to tell my staffs, “go forth and fail.” In fact, I had a banner made to that effect that we draped across the office foyer in Toronto. I took it with me to New York City, but someone ripped it up there. Anyway, I was always proud of the speech that I gave as we hoisted the banner up and the reaction I got from my team was always extremely positive. It gave them a kind of freedom.

    Posted by josephvrusso | June 22, 2013, 12:42 pm
  2. Found this phrase this morning in my notes from 1995, and loved it then, love it now: Veni, Vidi, Parum.

    Loosely translated, it means, “he came, he saw, he failed miserably”

    Posted by josephvrusso | June 22, 2013, 1:45 pm
  3. Another great line that I will be using in the future Joe. In fact, you have inspired me to create something in my office with that phrase. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Mark Behl | June 22, 2013, 2:37 pm

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About Mark Behl

Mark Behl

Mark Behl

Having fun as an innovative Healthcare Executive building high-performing teams that accomplish great things...Let's share ideas.

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Mark Behl

Healthcare Administration

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