If you’re a business leader, you have a responsibility to embrace failure.
Most people—especially leaders, executives, managers, CEOs, administrators, chairpersons—avoid failure, both word and subject, as they would day-old sushi or French opera. Failure, it seems, is not a fit topic for polite conversation.
For that matter, neither is doubt, fear, uncertainty, or lack of understanding. If you are the leader, if you hold any responsibility in an organization, aspire to leadership, or crave promotion to a position of greater responsibility, better not discuss failure or touch on any of those other “negative” states of mind. Just turn around, walk away, ignore them, and they’ll all vanish—poof! Or so many choose to believe.
Most of us don’t talk about failure, because, in our society and within our institutions and organizations, including schools, sports teams, governments, and businesses, failure is considered a shameful thing that merits punishment. You do the math: Shameful and should be punished + Sounds painful = Better keep my questions, doubts, fears, and failures to myself.
Keep failure to yourself?
Nothing could be more selfish! Not only to others but, even more, to yourself! Nothing has more to teach us than failure, and no motivator is more powerful. As I see it, failure is a gift, and, these days, the business environment is finally catching up with my attitude.
Adapted from Fran Tarkenton’s new book, The Power of Failure: Succeeding in the Age of Innovation.