Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox once said, "Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once." This same attitude that successful entrepreneurs and companies have always had that allowed them to push through failure to achieve success. Great companies understand that it is essential to learn from the failures that they face.
Five Facts CEO Can Learn From Their Failures.
Fact #1 - There is Effectiveness that is Uncovered in Failures.
There is always a better way to get things done. It does not matter how efficient or effective a process becomes, it should always be evaluated. Failures remind the leader that things can always be done a better way. Failures often lead to breakthroughs because failure points to the system that is broken and needs to be fixed. The CEO or leader of an organization should be on a mission to find the new and better way to get things done. This may mean at times breaking something just so a new process can be put into place.
Coaching Question: What is broken in my organization that needs to be done better or more effectively?
Fact #2 - There is Strength that is Developed through Adversity.
One major benefit of failure is that it develops the strength of the leader and the organization. Every great leader has failed. Every great organization has experienced setbacks that they have had to overcome. Greatness comes not from a product, service, or person. Greatness comes through the development of character faced during adversity. Would Walt Disney have achieved his greatness if he had never overcome the obstacles in his life? Would Steve Jobs have been the revolutionary that he was had he not faced the difficulties that made him who he was? Wise CEOs use failure to accelerate their organizations to future success.
Coaching Question: What character development can the organization celebrate in the midst of adversity?
Fact #3 - There are Opportunities that become Evident in Setbacks.
Failure should not be wasted. Someone once asked the Thomas Edison about the thousands of failures that he experienced when developing the light bulb. He calmly explained that the failures were not really failures. He said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." He understood that failure led to education and knowledge about what would ultimately work. Wise CEOs look for the opportunities in their failures.
Coaching Question: How do look at failure? Can you explore a new opportunity in your failure?
Fact #4 - There is Discipline that is developed through hardships.
Every great company must develop discipline to succeed. No successful person every became successful without discipline. The same can be said of companies and organizations as well.
Every Company must learn these 4 disciplines to Succeed:
- The Discipline of saying "no." Sometimes we cannot find out bigger "yes" until we learn to say "no" to the things that hold us back.
- The Discipline of letting go of what is not working. Sometimes we hold on to what is not working for to long. It is important to remember to quit working at what isn't working to work at what could work.
- The Discipline of parting with people who are not performing and do not fit the culture of the company. Sometimes it is hard to part with key people, but it is necessary and essential.
- The Discipline of expecting people to fulfill their responsibility. In disciplined companies, every person is held accountable for their performance and their results in the organization.
Disciplines such a these that are learned during hard times can be just the medicine that a company needs to help them to experience breakthroughs and growth.
Coaching Question: Which of the 4 Disciplines listed above do I need to practice more with my company?
Fact #5 - There is Support that is Given during Mistakes.
One of the biggest benefits that can happen during failure is that support is often given and experienced. People rally to support those that have failed and are working to make things right. This support can come from employees, customers, or vendors. The business leader or CEO does not have to face failure alone. During times of failure and mistakes is just the time to reach for support and not run from it. In the same vein, often the best leadership action that CEO can take during times of mistakes is to give support to the one who made the mistake.
Coaching Question: Whose support could you turn to during times of failure or mistakes.
Nobody wants to fail. However, failure might just be the most important key to your success as a leader and your breakthrough as a company. Listen again to the words of Drew Houston who said, "Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once." He is right. Most people don't remember the failure that a company makes. They only remember the success. Every company can become a better company if they learn the five facts that be learned during failure.
CEOs give good advice and counsel to other CEOs. It is often lonely at the top and it is hard to know where to look to for advice and counsel. When CEOs speak, other CEOs should listen. Can you imagine sitting around a table with CEOs like this that could give you good advice each month? Wise CEOs look to their peers to help achieve breakthroughs in their life and business.