Is Leadership Success 99% Failure?
During an interview, when asked the secret to his leadership success, Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Company and one of the most respected business leaders in the world, responded that success is 99% failure.
Learning from failure is part of success. People who always play it safe rarely succeed as leaders. The reason is that their fear of failure is greater than their desire to succeed, no matter what they say. So, they play it safe, never truly growing nor never truly failing - just going sideways in a secure comfort zone that's "good enough."
Well, "good enough" is not good enough if you want to grow and be a truly successful leader. Failure is part of success. Show me someone who has no failures and I'll show you the biggest failure around.
The year that Babe Ruth set the record for home runs (which lasted for over three decades) was the year he led the American league in strike outs.
When Thomas Edison was still trying to invent the light bulb a reporter asked him how it felt to have failed 400 times. His response was, "I didn't fail. I learned 400 ways how not to make a light bulb." He went ahead anyway failing his way to inventing a successful light bulb, to the benefit of the entire world.
Courage is not being fearless in your endeavors. True courage is having fear, but being willing to take the risks anyway. Every aspect of history is rich with examples of those leaders who dealt with their fears, learned from their mistakes, continued to take risks and failed their way to success. The CEO of a large sporting goods manufacturing company once said he would rather lose money and know why than to make money and not know why.
Want to be a true leader? Do your due diligence, curb your fears, take the risks and move forward. If you fail, be certain you know why, pick yourself up and move on with that valuable experience of what not to do. Use every failure as a stepping stone toward what to do successfully. That's the true formula for becoming a successful leader.