A few months back (April to be precise), the Harvard Business Review did an entire issue on Failures. Appropriately named, the “FAILURE” issue : How to Understand it, Learn from it, and Recover from it – the issue featured all sorts of articles about learning from failure, recovering from failure and even the need to study success – which in my experience most of us rarely do.
I was reminded of a conversation that I had over coffee with Wil Reynolds, CEO ofSeer Interactive a little while ago. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Wil, his company is a Philadelphia-based marketing company nationally recognized as a leader in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The story behind Wil’s entrepreneurial journey is fascinating (I plan on writing about it in an upcoming blog) but our conversation that day centered around the mistakes that we both have made over the years in business – including some of our failures and mis-judgements and what we had learned from them.
“That’s what I’d love to talk about – and hear about,” Wil said, “I’d love to get a bunch of CEO’s together and talk about our biggest failures – and how they got me to where I am now.” (Actually – Wil used another “F” word but I’ll keep it clean here. )
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Then along came the HBR issue AND the Fortune Leadership Conference where a number of the CEO’s and speakers talked about the mistakes that they had made along the way. More importantly, they all emphasized that there really was no way to be successful without having some failures AND that the important point was to learn from them and use them as opportunities to do better going forward…
It seemed to be a sign to me that it was time to take a look at the “dark” side and write a blog series around our Failures – the mistakes that we’ve made, the failures that we’ve had and what we’ve learned in the process.
So for the second half of 2011 – that’s the topic that I’ll be focusing on…
And if any of you are interested in sharing some of your mistakes, screw ups and errors in judgment with me – as well as what you’ve learned about business and yourself as a leader in the process, write me. I’d love to hear your story.