In our society failure is a prevalent fear. The ironic part of this is that in order to grow and evolve as a business, failure is inevitable.
Often, when we hear success stories no one addresses the struggles, failure, the doubt, and the trials that led them up to that point. Here are some examples you may recognize to put into perspective for you:
- Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the lightbulb before it was a success.
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as an anchor.
- 27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book To Think I Saw That on Mulberry Street.
- Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination and good ideas.
- Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. This didn’t stop him from completing over 800 paintings.
Everyone at some point in their life has experienced fear of failure. People sometimes become paralyzed with the fear of failure and get complacent in where they are at. This causes you to stop taking action to continuously improve their business. This can be a difficult state to leave.
Leadership Calls to Action
Leadership is the key to breaking this toxic cycle. The company’s core beliefs and behaviors must support risk-taking. Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. Celebrate your failures as you would your successes. Take the time to ask yourself the following questions:
- What did we learn in the process?
- Why are you in business in the first place?
- How will this benefit your customers?
- How will this help grow your company?
Your leadership should have these positive responses ready. This positive reaction to risks will limit the fear of failure within the company.
How to Encourage Risk Taking
Developing an atmosphere where your employees are comfortable taking risks will likely be a challenging task, but it will reap many rewards. Transforming your company’s beliefs and behaviors is not something that will happen overnight. It is a process that takes time and patience as it can be an adjustment. It starts with leading by example and establishing the expectation that everyone’s responsibility is to support and encourage their team members to take risks and celebrate their successes and learn from their failures.
Calling all Business Leaders to Coach up
As a business leader it is your responsibility to coach and mentor your team to take risks and get into action. It takes time for people to open themselves up to take risks. Coaching your team to take more risks will help the transformation process run smoothly. Here are five steps to follow when coaching your employees after they took a risk but it did not succeed:
- Review what went wrong – not to assign blame but understand where process can be improved.
- Spend more time reviewing what went right and how to replicate the success.
- Teach humility – Don’t go in alone. If you’re unsure, get feedback; if you need help, ask for it.
- Practice the philosophy, “Mistakes live in the details of great ideas.”
- Come to terms with reality. If you keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results, you need to move onto something else.
Leadership skills like taking on risk in search for success is one of many areas we could all improve. Ready to develop your leadership further? Take a look at our resource “From Pressure Cooker to Peace of Mind” here
What a physical resource to put actions in motion? The book below is a great option!