What can executives learn from failure

failLearn from failure

When people fail, they exhibit certain behaviors: they suppress it, lose self-esteem, or make the same mistake again. For example, when entrepreneurs lead their company straight into bankruptcy because they stick to tried and tested, but unachievable goals. Others think that they are always doing something wrong and therefore do not make any decisions. Those who deal with failures in this way are wasting valuable experience. Instead, failure should be accepted as a challenge and understood as a conscious learning process. The personal experience becomes important and useful for further action. Failures are then an opportunity for personal development.

When people fail, certain internal processes take place:

  • Shock: disorientation and bewilderment, excitement or numbness
  • Denial: Hope of Undo
  • Aggression: phase of defense
  • Depression: Reaction to an experience of loss by means of inhibition, self-accusation and a reduction in self-esteem
  • Mourning work: Mourning the old reality and saying goodbye to ideals, people and objects that have become dear

Before people redefine themselves and their goals, they have to accept their failure and let go of their original goals. The psychologist and business coach Markus Väth advises those who have failed first to take a break in order to rearrange themselves. It takes a certain amount of grief to admit mistakes and learn from them.