When the word ‘failure’ it is uttered amongst certain circles, you can feel the air change – There’s a shudder or two and possibly some squirming as this particular world resonates down office corridors. However, while so many of us fear the onslaught of failure, the value you can take from making boo-boos, no matter how big or small, is huge.
I was lucky enough to speak with the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing and man who loves a good fail, David Meltzer, for Volume 04 of Psychology of Entrepreneurship. He brought to the table some interesting concepts around celebrating failure within a business and how we can avoid it, whilst learning from and utilizing these lessons.
Avoid Complete Failure By Figuring Out Tomorrow
One of the biggest things that lends itself to failure is not being prepared and looking ahead. This may seem so simple, but all too often it doesn’t happen. I’ve tasted the bitterness of business failure before, and learning from those mistakes and preparing for the next step is critical.
The “advice I give to entrepreneurs is the first thing you should do every day is figuring out how you stay in business tomorrow because if you stay in business long enough, you’re going to be more and more successful. Things evolve,” David explains.
Every few weeks, take stock of what you have attempted that didn’t go as planned. Keeping a record will remind you that things not quite working out, is not necessarily a bad business move, it’s just you’ve experienced a failure to complete or execute something according to plan.
Then, it’s just a case of learning from your mistakes and adjusting for a better way of executing it tomorrow. “Those lessons are all infused into one success that I have, David, explains.”
Build Your Skillset
While some may argue the thing that entrepreneurs should focus their attention on financial success, it’s actually a skill-building that will steer you away from failure.
Ask yourself, “How do I get the skills in order to be the best at what I do?” One way to achieve that is through practice. It’s like dancing. The more you practice the moves, the easier it becomes, the easier it becomes the more you enjoy it.
“I got to practice what I’m doing. And practising means that what others will call failure, I call them miracles or lessons,” says David.
Reward the Biggest Failures
David Meltzer may be seen as unorthodox when it comes to running his business, but when you understand his motives behind celebrating failure, you’ll see that it’s a perfectly logical step in business evolution.
David hands out awards to the employees that have failed the hardest. Now, while this may seem counterintuitive for those wanting to float into success, he asks how the mistake affects his business and what value has that mistake brought forward, that the entire team can learn from.
“I give a bonus, usually $1,000 or more, to whoever made the biggest mistake and cost me the most money,” says David, emphasising that while we all make mistakes, it’s how we learn from those lessons and apply them that really counts.
Become a Better Leader Through Experience
Acknowledging mistakes is one thing; it’s what you take away from the lessons that matter. To become an effective leader or employee, embodying four main qualities can set you apart from the rest and aid growth within any business.
Gratitude isn’t often practised in business, but it is exponential in its power. It allows you to be thankful for every situation that arises so you can gain a positive outlook, “making your past unbelievable, your present better, and your future brighter.”
Past mistakes are gone! Empathy gives you the space to forgive yourself for past mistakes so you can move forward. It’s a classic case of, ‘you can’t give others what you don’t have yourself.’ You need to be able to forgive yourself before you can genuinely forgive others.
You’re going to have to stand up to the plate and become accountable. This is incredibly empowering, as you put onto yourself the responsibility for your actions. Ask yourself two simple questions should something happen under your watch, “What did I do to attract this to myself” and “What am I supposed to learn from it?”
If you’re going to be a good leader who is able to convey the lessons, you need effective communication. Communication, as a rule, requires us to connect in two ways, to those around us as well as to that which inspires us.
Failure doesn’t have to be the dirty word of an entrepreneur if you’re willing to learn from it. Take on board the lessons, stay accountable, forgive yourself and move on.
The Psychology of Entrepreneurship
For more on navigating failure within business check out Volume 5 of the Psychology of Entrepreneurship podcast hosted by Ronsley Vaz with special guest David Meltzer.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.