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"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall." Confucius


You want to be a legendary leader?  You want your organization to be driven by resourcefulness, adaptability, creativity, and imagination?  You want to promote “out-of-the-box” thinking and improve your chances for organizational longevity?  Then increase your personal and organizational tolerance for failure.

I can hear your collective gasp. Am I advocating sloppy, substandard performance, error riddled work and failure driven rewards?  Good heavens, no.  I recognize that there are some occupations where the results of a failure are more serious than others. If you are my brain surgeon or my airline pilot, then failure is not an option. On the other hand, the absence of failure may signal the absence of growth. 

In today’s workplace the enlightened leader encourages people to think, create and try new things.  In order for this to happen, organizations should develop a higher tolerance for failure and use failure as an opportunity for learning. Organizations need people who will take risks, suggest unusual solutions and present unorthodox ideas.  Creativity is essential for growth and sometimes this means working with half-baked recommendations or hair brained ideas until they can be modified, refined and developed. 

Developing a tolerance for mistakes and a culture that opens up the possibility for errors can increase employee participation and enhance overall satisfaction.  Again, I understand that some organizations simply cannot consider failure an option, but for the majority of decisions, failure is not fatal.        

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't as all. You can be discouraged by failure - or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you will find success.” Thomas J. Watson

Failing is not the same as being a failure. Successful people thrive on rejection.  They are energized by the necessity to keep moving until they achieve their objectives.  If you internalize your setbacks and think of yourself as a failure, you will not have the confidence to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. 

“A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” John Burroughs

When you don’t succeed at one thing, learn from the experience and try something else.  This is a blueprint for success.  Be persistent.  Double your efforts.  You will succeed!

“Better to be a strong person with a flaw that a flawed person with a strength.  A diamond with a flaw is many times more valuable than a brick without a flaw.”

Babe Ruth stuck out 1330 times in his lifetime trying to hit that home run.  That means that he failed to reach his goal more times than he made it. You are not always going to hit a home run.  How you handle failure is a far more important measure of character than how you handle success.


When Thomas Edison was asked why he didn’t get discouraged with the lack of results when it took nearly 50, 000 experiments before he succeeded in building a successful new storage battery.  "Results? Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know fifty-thousand things that won't work."