Goals 2014: How Are You Managing Your Risk Of Failure?

Do You Feel Failure Is A Badge Of Honour?

Do You Feel Failure Is A Badge Of Honour?

Despite your risk management strategy have you ever failed when leading a new project / stepping into a job role / taking on a leadership challenge? You might recognise the warning signs pointing to ‘Failure Ahead’: a cycle of sleepless nights; mounting frustration and anxiety during the day and ultimately, the admission of defeat.

Are There Positive Lessons From Failure?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to the opening question here’s another one to consider. What did you learn from your experience of missing your goal?

Having looked at Success in a recent post it makes sense to consider Failure now. There is even an upside when comparing your failed outcome, to the success you planned for. You have the chance to try a different approach next time. I learned just such a positive lesson from a failure in my past. In a nutshell, pay attention to your gut instincts when they are telling you ‘nope, this really isn’t working out’.

The reality of failure could lead you to take a different approach next time, by:

  • exercising more diligence before pursuing a new opportunity
  • establishing a more realistic set of milestones in the planning phase
  • connecting to more people to create an effective support system for yourself.

What Are The Real World Benefits Of Failure?

These broad themes – diligence, planning and support – are ones entrepreneur Faisal Butt explored in his recent presentation about the benefits of ‘Failure’ at The Business Show 2014. The gist of his argument also features in this Management Today Opinion piece. The article is definitely worth a read if success in business, or leadership, are your priorities. You can also follow tweets on the with the hashtag #TBS2014 and see more about Faisal on Twitter @FaisalButt_

What Does Research Say About Failure Leading To Success?

Interestingly Barclays’ research (regarding high net worth individuals) suggests that 51% of those sampled agree past failure in entrepreneurial endeavours increases the chance that a new business will succeed. So that may mean leaders are, on balance, more optimistic than not in the face of failure. Optimism seems to be a key component in perseverance, whether in business or other parts of life.

What Are You Doing To Manage Your Risk Of Failure?

Here are some questions you may want to consider, with coaching support:

  • How does your leadership strategy prompt your actions which limit the risk of failure?
  • What steps do you take to maintain and strengthen your stock of optimism?
  • How could your support system / professional connections help you achieve better results?

Feel free to have a conversation about this topic with your colleagues.  I’d be interested to know what you and your team think.  You can find me on Twitter @RogerD_said

There are more ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section here and on Facebook and Google+ too.  Or if you are a Linkedin user you can visit View Roger Dennison’s profile

What Does Failure Look Like (And How Can It Lead To Success)?

I wrote a post about success a short while ago.  The context there was the Federer vs Murray Wimbledon tennis final and the significant achievement of a British player almost winning the Championship’s singles trophy.

James Dyson

James Dyson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it is worth spending a few moments thinking about the lessons that not being successful can offer.  My view would be, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger.’

Funnily enough I was talking about the principle of if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed with the owner / manager of a take-away restaurant recently.

We were speaking days after Spain won the Euro 2012 tournament.  England’s performance was dogged, Group A winning, but not ultimately successful.  It suggested there was room for improvement.

I think the take-away manager and I decided that in the UK failure often brought out a response of, ‘Well what did you expect?’ or perhaps, ‘It isn’t worth trying again”.

In the US and elsewhere the attitude is more “Hey never mind.  I know it didn’t work out, but what are you going to try next?”

So there’s the background.  It can take a lot of self-belief to miss a goal and use the experience to improve.

Here’s an article exploring these themes further, written by the entrepreneur and inventor Sir James Dyson.  I can’t find fault with his observation that “Success takes time, patience and perseverance”.


Thinking more broadly there are parallels to performance in the sporting world too.  Here are some thoughts about what it takes to reach the Gold medal standard.


I like Track Cyclist Victoria Pendleton ‘s comment that, learning lessons from not reaching a goal, entails “having a robust self-esteem with an identity that is not too defined by performance results so [you] can maintain [your] emotional stability and work out how to improve.”

Which sounds a lot like Sir James Dyson’s reflection, “Failure is painful, but it spurs on improvement like nothing else.”

I think those are timely insights for Athletes, Innovators, or Regular Folk like the rest of us.