Failing gracefully

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh would be very proud.

He is the leader of transparency in business and admitting a failure and then detailing that failure for all to see and benefit from is quite admirable in my book.

That’s just what one Houston business owner did recently. You can read her story here.

She hosted a day workshop on social media for small business owners.

By her own admission, the event did not meet her financial expectations and probably should have waited a year to host such an event.

That took guts.

The truth is we all make mistakes. As business owners we don’t always make the best decisions. One great takeaway from college was this…as a leader sometimes you have to make a decision that you’ll have to go back and reverse because you didn’t have all the information. You make the best decision based on the information available at the time.

I also learned about control—normally viewed in a negative sense but I learned control in a business is a good thing. That simply means you get to correct in the moment. You don’t always have to shut everything down, you can control or correct in real time.

Anyone who is honest will tell you failures cost. They cost you time and sometimes they can cost you your reputation even if you do handle correctly. No one really sets out to fail but the lessons learned are invaluable. They set us up for the next big thing.

I’d be lying if I said every project I’ve executed went off without a hitch. But I did learn the art of communication and real-time correction and those two things can save a business owner.

So while you won’t ever completely avoid failure, you can always learn from them and even share them with others.

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