In order to develop through failure, you'll need a forward-thinking attitude, especially if you're an entrepreneur who is trying to build or scale a business. But if you're able to maintain a positive mindset, these generally negative experiences can be turned around to create a productive outcome.
With that in mind, today we'll be exploring the three main types of failure and why it's important to use it as a driving force for improvement, as well as providing some strategies for how you can develop from any pitfalls you come across with.
Before you can use any given failure as a learning experience, you must first identify which category it falls into from the below three options. While all can be used for growth, some have a more straightforward pathway to resolution, and you may even discover that some failures aren't actually a negative at all.
This type of failure is one that you want to minimise. Usually brought about by incorrectly completing a task — whether intentionally or unintentionally — preventable failures are exactly what you'd expect from the name.
Unavoidable failures are ones which we shouldn't stress too much about, as there was no way to prevent them from happening. While the situation should still be acknowledged, and a resolution sought, these are the types of issues that will arise no matter what you do.
Intelligent failures are the type that comes from innovation and experimentation. These failures are actually just progress in disguise, as they'll put you one step closer to figuring out what works by teaching you what doesn't.
Developing through failure is vital to the growth and success of both individuals and businesses. Failing allows you to learn your limits and discover how things can be improved on moving forward.
Fading also allows you to push your limits once you've established them, and by implementing these strategies, you'll be able to create a solid foundation for growth.
The first step to developing through failure is to stop being so afraid of it. As outlined above, failure — in the right context — can actually be a good thing, and it is also sometimes inevitable, so there's no point dancing around the issue and being afraid.
The next thing you're going to want to figure out is how to fail fast. This one applies specifically to intelligent failure, as finding out quickly that something isn't going to work saves you a lot of time, effort, and money.
Unless failure is a result of a deliberately incorrect action, trying to find someone to blame is simply a waste of time. While you obviously need to deal with the offender if an issue was caused on purpose, laying negative repercussions against someone who made an honest mistake or simply had an accident only creates toxicity. By avoiding the blame game, however, you can foster a positive environment and improve productivity.
After a resolution, it is important to revisit the events that led up to the failure. We're taking a deep reflection here, not just a recount of what happened. Analyse each trigger that led to the failure occurring, and take personal accountability for any part you may have played. This will probably make you feel bad, but that isn't the intention. Rather, the idea here is to identify areas for improvement moving forward.
After the previous step, you may be feeling rather unhappy, and it is important to address this before continuing so as not to harbour that negativity. Accept that mistakes happen, and forgive yourself for any issues you may have caused. Once you have done this, you'll find it far easier to turn the failure into an opportunity for progress.
If the failure is unavoidable, you're going to need to create a strategy for dealing with it in case it ever arises again. By the same token, if the issue that arose was avoidable, it would be a good idea to put measures in place to help ensure that the same accident or mistake doesn't happen again.
Finally, the most important way that you can turn failure into a positive is to use it to your advantage to develop and expand your skill set. When things go wrong, the issue generally points to a knowledge or skills gap, and once this gap is identified, it can be filled.
This is the main factor that we were referring to earlier when we said that failure can help you push your limits, as now that you know what doesn't work, you can act on your personal development until you are in a position where it does work. While this obviously isn't possible in all circumstances — such as when you're dealing with an unavoidable failure — it does work in most cases, and the effort you put in now will pay dividends.
What is it that makes an entrepreneur different? As far as we are concerned, it is primarily the courage to try out new things and make ideas a reality. After all, GRENKE started out as just an idea, too. Now, it’s a global financing specialist.