Entrepreneurs are driven to succeed. Most entrepreneurs are confident, driven, with strong egos, who truly believe they will succeed and cannot fail.
But failure of some degree is inevitable, and failure is what really makes us grow. Failure is the seed for personal and organizational growth and future success. That is because both failure and the fear of failure is the mechanism for real change.
Surviving failure—especially near-catastrophic failure—makes us and our organization stronger and gives us confidence to overcome future challenges, which at first blush can seem to be insurmountable.
While we can analyze great successes for what we did correctly, failure helps us learn what we didn’t know and what action we should or shouldn’t have taken. Only through analyzing and dissecting failure for both what was done correctly and what was done wrong can the experience truly help you and your organization grow. Ask yourself and your staff:
- How can a similar type of situation be minimized, avoided or prevented in the future?
- Are there measures that can be put into place to prevent it?
- What did we learn?
Failure is a blessing in disguise. It allows us to assess our previous intelligence, knowledge and abilities and measure our personal and organizational growth from having worked through the experience. Failure teaches us how to be creative and how to successfully overcome obstacles for future success and growth. This is growth mindset and life learning.
As the leader of your organization, you are the one who can turn failure into a positive:
- Identify failure early to minimize impact.
- Analyze the cause of the failure, but don’t cast blame. Identify any weakness or vulnerability in you and your organization.
- Be creative in crafting solutions during the situation and in establishing future prevention measures.
Avoid the Pain, Learn From Others’ Failures
I have personally experienced the benefit of mentorship during a near-catastrophic failure. It happened while I was a mentee in the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program. My mentor gave me the confidence to trust my own judgment and push on through the situation.
Additionally, HEMP encourages “putting your worst foot forward.” Sharing failure experiences with noncompeting peer companies in a confidential and secure environment enables you to painlessly gain the knowledge of others’ experiences without having to go through the experience.
My company pushed through the challenge and came out the other side with greater confidence, better practices and procedures and a stronger reputation in the industry.
A good mentor can bolster you as you’re dealing with a failure. That person can also give you an unbiased, uncolored viewpoint of the situation.
Don’t be afraid to share “lessons learned” and “pearls of wisdom” from your failure experiences with other entrepreneurs. It encourages them to share their experiences and lessons learned. Find commonality. You can garner knowledge that can help you avoid a similar failure. Plus, it is reassuring to know others have gone through similar challenges of great magnitude and have survived and flourished.