How to Recognize Epic Failures

I have had my share of them.

Epic Failures

I have had a few “epic” failures in my lifetime. Some were more memorable than others. Some were quiet failures. Some were fairly public failures. You have probably had some as well.  So, is there anything we can learn from them?

I was told by a manager one time, “If you aren’t failing, then you aren’t trying hard enough.” And I am sure that there are many situations in which that statement is true. However, I am not dealing with effort and intentions alone today. Instead, I am dealing with results. To some, this may seem a bit harsh. Our society often expresses success in terms of how hard one tries. And if one tries really, really, really hard, then they have succeeded due to their level of effort. But for today, let’s look at leadership failure from a results-oriented perspective, OK?

There are certainly tell-tale signs when a leader is failing. And that is true even when the leader himself does not see it. Certainly, those around him don’t always see it either. And if those that do see it, they don’t always know how to address it with the leader. Fortunately, those with discernment will see it.

Signs of Leadership Failure

Are you interested in signs of current or impending failure within an organization? Consider some of these signs that there is some sort of leadership failure within an organization:

There is a leadership failure when there is a refusal to accept advice or help from other leaders within the organization who are more experienced. Sometimes we think that we must do it all ourselves and we must “gut it out.” Although advice is easy to find. Good and sound advice is a precious commodity. As a leader, we must seek it out. And we must dispense it very carefully. Especially when it is not solicited.

Ask yourself: Am I open and “coachable?”

There is a leadership failure when leaders lack the support of those around them. Failure is near when you have lost the support of those closest to you and of those who have real insight into the situation at hand.

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The Business of Ethics

MM - Ethics

I am sure there has been much written about ethics in leadership but I wanted to share some insights recently revealed to me.

I had a visit with some dear friends who have been in leadership positions and one is currently writing a book on “ethics in the university”. He is a retired professor and is a dear friend so, jokingly, I asked him if he had discovered any, to which there was a resounding NO.

The chats usually go with the state of our country then circles around to business models and ethics.

First, I’m not sure why we call it “business ethics”.

Is the place we learn business ethics, in business, or is it too late then?  Our conversation had me asking that question, “Where do we learn” ethics?

Well, I got the standard business answer we all should expect and the one you are thinking. We teach them in college and have training classes and seminars. Which isn’t bad, I might add!

As you may guess at this point in the conversation, I still had plenty of questions. So, one immediate question was; at what age do we start to teach ethics?

Where and when do “we” learn ethics?

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Restoring a Fallen Leader

Fallen Tree

I set out doing discovery for this piece because it is near and dear to my heart. I won’t go into specifics here, but I have fallen. I have let my arrogance and need for pleasure and approval get the best of me.

I want anyone who reads this to know that I have started on a journey to restoration, and I find the steps there through whatever they will be to be getting easier. What I mean by that is the hard part was admitting you sinned and asking for forgiveness.

Now I don’t necessarily count myself among the leaders right now, and to be honest I am not sure how to feel about myself. However what I find most interesting about my situation and how I feel about my situation is I am being much harder on myself than the people I am accountable too. I guess what I am trying to say is, my discipline is not a punishment by others but the voluntary acceptance of God’s forgiveness.

I know that sounds like an odd statement, but lets think about forgiveness for a minute.

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Three Things About Failure

How many times have you heard that failure is just a stepping-stone to success?

Although it is true, it is not very helpful just knowing that little tidbit. The fact of the matter is, just knowing this is simply not enough. It’s not going to actually bring you success and it’s not going to help you become a better leader.

The fact remains that most people are afraid to fail. We’ve been conditioned since childhood that it’s a bad thing. Failing a test in school didn’t exactly get us one step closer to an “A” now did it? Want to start up a new business? Don’t fail. Because if you do you will lose all your capital that you invested in the venture.

Failing at something doesn’t mean that you have no skills or abilities, or you don’t know how to do anything.

Consider this. Failure, after you strip out the emotions, is just feedback. And it’s from this feedback that we should extract the lessons, learn from them, and apply them to our leadership development. Here now are three things that I think we need to consider where failure is concerned.

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