Creating Effectiveness, Pt. 3: Honor Failure

In Church Leadership, Church Strategyby Russ Olmon

Look at the lives of many of the great leaders throughout history and you will see a history of “failure.” Leaders tend to have a unique view of failure. In fact, what most people would call failure, a true leader will seldom see that way.

Leaders view failure as learning experiences. They’re not afraid to try new things. When something doesn’t work, they try something else. They never lose sight of their vision and they understand they may have to learn a few things along the way to making that vision a reality.

Tom Watson, Sr., the founder and leader of IBM for over 40 years, believed implicitly in this principle, for both himself and others. When a promising junior executive lost over $10 million dollars of business money on a risky venture, Watson called the man into his office.

Expecting the worst, the man said nervously, “I guess you want my resignation?” Watson responded in astonishment, “You can’t be serious. We’ve just spent $10 million educating you!”

A leader will create a culture where failure is viewed as part of the journey to true greatness. Learning experiences along the way don’t dim their view of their ultimate objective. A leader expects obstacles on the road to the vision, but retains the firm belief that those obstacles can and will be overcome and that ultimate vision is inevitable.

Next month: Creating Effectiveness Pt. 4 – Improve Human Relationships

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