The Value of Failure
When General Motors went bankrupt after 101 years of existence people in the USA were deeply shocked. For many years GM had been the biggest company in the world. ‘What is good for GM, is good for the USA,’ was an often repeated quote. It had become an institution of national pride and the common perception was that GM was simply too big and too important to fail. But it did. It had concentrated on finance instead of focussing on its core business of building and designing better cars. Even Obama refused to acknowledge the failure of GM.
Many organizations and entrepreneurs treat failure as a disaster. Executives that fail often go through stages that are associated with accepting death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. However, failing offers a golden opportunity to learn. The lessons learnt enable organisations and individuals to become more competent and effective in business. Remember that many very successful entrepreneurs made several failed attempts before they managed to launch a business. Both Donald Trump and Richard Branson are well known examples of failure before success. And research indicates that at least fifty percent of all executives fail in their roles.
Failure is an inevitable part of the work experience. We have to accept our failures and learn from them. We need to redefine failure. Let it be our First Action In Learning: F A I L.
What has failure taught you?