14 Ways For Business Leaders To Turn Failure Into Fuel For Future Success

Linda ReyesBlogging

Forbes Coaches Council

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Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

Being a business leader can sometimes be draining. You not only have to keep yourself motivated, but also ensure your team stays fully engaged. Further, overseeing all the work and striving never to miss—or make—a mistake is an intimidating mandate. With all the demands on a leader’s time and energy, it’s no wonder that everyone stumbles sometimes.

No matter the type or magnitude of a misstep, it’s important to forgive yourself and learn from the experience to grow. Below, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their own strategies for learning from a mistake and turning it into motivation for future success.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council offer strategies for business leaders to turn a failed project or mistake into fuel for future success.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Get As Much Feedback As Possible

Most of us recognize that failure provides the opportunity to learn. But leaders miss the opportunity if they don’t get feedback. When failures or mistakes happen, engage the people who interacted with the event and get feedback. Learn what went wrong from other people’s perspectives. Ask what they think you could have done differently. Not only will you learn, but they will feel valued too! – Ryan James Miller

2. Use After-Action Reviews

After-action reviews are a great way to capture lessons learned and help the organization successfully memorize practices so that they can be replicated in the future. It is important to create a trust-based environment that welcomes a critical yet constructive critique of the mistakes and missteps related to the initiative, as well as one that applauds and recognizes the successes and best practices. – Marvin ChambersBuilt To Last Solutions, LLC (Marvin Chambers Coaching)Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

3. Cultivate A Growth Mindset

If something doesn’t go according to plan, it’s a chance to understand why. Every mistake is an opportunity to evolve, grow and get stronger, smarter, faster or better. People lose their way not because of challenge, but because of their thinking about challenge. They assign a “difficult” label to challenge. To avoid this, business leaders should cultivate a growth mindset within their teams. – Karen KissaneKaren Kissane Coaching, The Smart Woman’s Business Hub

4. Don’t Be Afraid Of Perceptions

Be vulnerable and open to acknowledging that the failed project happened, and look for the learning. Business leaders always fear being judged or being looked down on if they fail at something. But teams and people are more accepting if the business leaders embrace the failure instead of diverting the failure away. So acknowledge, embrace and celebrate it. Then get back to work. – KarFei CheahMindvalley

5. Fail Forward

Do not be afraid to fail. Failed projects or mistakes are a great segue into much-needed change. Debrief the project and mistake. Figure out the places where something went wrong. Ask questions. Where did you not have enough information? Did you have the right people involved? When you seek to learn from everything that went right and wrong, it will make the next time so much more successful. – Amy ModglinModglin Leadership Solutions

6. Expose The Failure To Show You Have Changed

Instead of hiding a flaw, why not trumpet it loudly? If you failed in an area and can show customer comments, complaints and raw reactions to it, why not use that as a springboard to success? The key is, are you willing to change and improve? If that is the case, you now have a built-in contrast you can emphasize in your advertisements; perhaps even enlist the naysayers and win them over with change. – John M. O’ConnorCareer Pro Inc.

7. Model Ownership Of Mistakes

When the leader messes up, it’s important to share with the team the mistake the leader made, without euphemism and without judgment. This then empowers the team members to admit to their own mistakes when they happen—again without euphemism or judgment—and to create a culture of trust and camaraderie. And it leads to fewer actual mistakes over time. – Helio Fred GarciaLogos Consulting Group

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