Learning from Failure

“Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

Learning from our failures, both personal and professional, is no easy task, especially when we’re frustrated, disappointed or demoralized. It can be embarrassing to fail and we all do it. It is a natural part of growth and risk.

Every business leader experiences roadblocks in the daily course of events. Understanding failure as opportunity can often set the course for new successes, strengths and can be the most important factor in going forward in a positive way from a business failure. For example, business leaders that belong to a peer group typically have members of that group who have been through some type of business failure.  Belonging to a peer group can help you learn from those type of experiences and enable you to grow as a leader.

To benefit from a business failure, the best and brightest often set a long-term goal incorporating the strategies learned from the false step in order to understand how to correct the course and avoid repeating mistakes. Many people in business and in life ignore and try to forget mistakes which are not productive. That long-term goal includes the time and effort it takes to educate and include a team approach to accomplish this goal and reach that ongoing successful attitude. We should all learn that perfect moments may never come and we could end up losing the opportunity to fix our failures.

Understand that being open about a failure leads to improvements in your professional and personal life.  Success comes from failure, and fearing failure can only make you unsuccessful. Tackle your business failures with persistence and understanding while setting a long-term goal for future achievements.

Peer Advisory Groups

From billion dollar corporations to small local businesses, associates and owners can benefit from the collaboration of professional peer advisory groups. Peer advisory groups allow professionals to connect with other entrepreneurs from different industry backgrounds to share alternative ideas and solutions to challenges and opportunities. The purpose of a peer advisory group is to cultivate the wisdom and imagination among the group, creating a mixture of routes to making better decisions.

Teamwork among a peer advisory group allows members to grow their circle of contacts from a diverse pool of industries and organizations. Not only do members usually see an increase in annual revenues while lowering overhead costs but, this teamwork creates a problem solving and an opportunity atmosphere that builds more effective leaders.

One of the most valued assets in a peer advisory group is the trusting relationships built among its members. In the groups, individuals count on each other’s integrity to keep secure data and solutions confidential. Building trust in the decision making process requires the group to be open, professional, unbiased and attentive to the needs and concerns of all parties participating. 

Peer advisory groups are a way for startup entrepreneurs as well as senior leaders to be part of a positive integrative process that advocates growth and champions a joint effort to grow each individual business. Over time, peer advisory groups establish an alliance for effective growth and trust leading to future business success. 

Thinking Right with Vistage

We have all heard the expression, “There is strength in numbers,” and most of us would agree that multiple brains are better than just one. But what many people may not know, is there is danger in more than two brains collaborating together if that collaboration is not done correctly. In 1972, Irving Janis coined the term “Groupthink” to describe the tendency for a group becoming inept at making rational and efficient judgments due to the pressure the group places on each other.  Whether it was in your Kindergarten class, where little Jimmy pressured the whole table to believe carrots were bad for them, or in the work place, where your team decided to continue a project even though it was more likely to fail than not, at some point most everyone has experienced the phenomenon of groupthink. A few key concepts Vistage Florida believes are crucial to not only prevent groupthink, but maximize the time and value its members bring to their groups are:

  1. Bring together individuals from different, non-competing backgrounds.
  2. Provide outside feedback and coaching for the group, challenging their views and cultivating their ideas.
  3. Provide clear structure and clear rules for meetings, while still encouraging members to be creative.

It is obvious that its members are benefiting from the structured collaboration Vistage provides. Its more than 20,000 members earn a 5% higher average compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for their company revenues than U.S. companies that are not Vistage members. More brains working together are better than one; it just takes guidance and structure, the way Vistage has been successfully providing its members for over 50 years.

Creativity in Your Business

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ~ Walt Disney

Continuing success in business doesn’t always include becoming bigger and working harder, it does always require creating innovative ways to improve existing processes and trying new ideas to overcome old missteps. Business leaders often fail by continuing down the same paths that have proven problematic in the past. An eye toward innovation and new ideas differentiates the old from the new and gives your business the character to stand out among the competition.

One very important factor in becoming more creative is to be open to everyone’s ideas and always be curious in trying new things. Team collaboration in a business means having minds and experiences from all different backgrounds work together driven by passion and cause towards one common goal.

 In business instead of looking towards how a new idea could fail, try always to develop a curious mindset in yourself and others. Teach yourself and others that nothing is a bad idea; everything and everyone has potential whether it’s to create a more positive work environment fostering new ideas among a group to get things done faster or suggestions of how to increase profits. Listening and critical thinking skills can often be lost in the work day. The most important tool in work and in life that can be utilized and implemented is a demanding curiosity. Only the curious have something to find.

Keeping Your Word

How often do we make a commitment and then fail to do it? Our word is a matter of integrity. Our word and commitments are important, have value, and show our goals and desires. There is an old saying “let your word be your bond.”

We have all had personal experiences where friends or colleagues have disappointed us by not showing up after confirming social engagements or not completing a task that was promised and we all find it infuriating. But the respect in your words becomes clearly most important in the business world where time and money are tied to deadlines that require team work.

If you are seen as unreliable there is nothing that can rebuild that trust. In the business world keeping your word is the most important factor in growing, thriving and staying in the position you hold. There is also nothing that can destroy confidence in an individual or company faster than not being dependable.

Even the most simple acts of unreliability are disrespectful, when restaurant reservations are not cancelled, time and money are wasted and staff are placed in a position to lose wages, when a babysitter does not show up in time for you to catch a movie your night can be ruined and plans with friends be disrupted.

For all of us it can sometimes be difficult to honor our commitments but the true test of integrity is of doing the right thing and having the strength and respect to honor your promises.