During a commencement address, Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs talked about how he dropped out of college because he felt he was wasting his parents’ hard-earned money. He later went on to help develop Apple Incorporated. After a 10-year run at the helm of Apple, his own board of directors fired him. He later went on to help build Pixar. Eventually, he went back to Apple and engineered the company’s triumphant return as a competitor in the marketplace. In short, Jobs looked back on his so-called failures and connected the dots. He decided that his successes would not have come about if not for his failures.

Unfortunately, many people have an unhealthy perception of failure. In particular, many businesses lack an environment of constructive failure. Rather than incorporating failure into the learning and business growth process, they tend to close the door on whatever component failed and ignore it completely. This method of dealing with failure can end up costing companies in the long run because as companies evolve and change leadership, mistakes are often repeated. Creating a precedent of failures makes it easier to keep learning from past mistakes. “You have paid your tuition [through lost revenue or operating costs], so you might as well get something out of it,” said Harvard professor, Rita McGrath.

Professional athletes demonstrate this concept each time they compete. On the average, baseball players will miss the ball more times than they will hit it. Football players who drop passes often attribute their successes in creating big plays to having a short memory. When a receiver drops a pass his only recourse is to shake it off and get back into the game knowing full well that he will be much more alert the next time around.

“Some people are lucky enough to go through life failing very little if at all,” said Randy Komisar, founder and leader of several successful technology businesses in Silicon Valley. “These people may be lucky, but I don’t think they’re as wise.”

The emergence of new trends and technologies has business leaders clamoring for innovation to promote leading-edge business practices. However, few industry executives embrace failure as a learning device from which successes are commonly achieved. In difficult economic times, prudence dictates that companies operate in cautionary mode taking fewer risks that might result in further loss of market share and financial turmoil. The concern with this mode of operation is that breakthroughs depend on a certain level of risks and failure.

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose,” said Microsoft founder, Bill gates. Failure builds character and teaches us how to be resourceful and persistent. A good formula to follow is to fail fast, fail cheap, learn from the experience, and move on. Successes are far more rewarding when we can accept failure as a learning experience.

Author's Bio: 

David Jensen is a freelance writer specializing in article marketing, copy writing, press releases, journalism, and employment. To see more of his credentials and expertise, visit his Web site at www.ascensionwriting.com