10 Steps Great Leaders Take When Things Go Wrong


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10 STEPS GREAT LEADERS TAKE WHEN THINGS GO WRONG


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The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. – HENRY FORD


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The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. – HENRY FORD At the end of the day, it’s how you embrace your mistakes in the pursuit of success that defines your character as a leader.


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1 GREAT LEADERS ACCEPT THAT FAILURE IS INEVITABLE.


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ACCEPTING THAT FAILURE IS PART OF THE PROCESS WILL MOTIVATE YOU TO TAKE MORE RISKS AND TRY HARDER. 1


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ACCEPTING THAT FAILURE IS PART OF THE PROCESS WILL MOTIVATE YOU TO TAKE MORE RISKS AND TRY HARDER. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and started a company, Traf-O-Data, which went nowhere. But his passion for computers remained. He went on to build the Microsoft empire and is now one of the wealthiest men in the world. 1


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ACCEPTING THAT FAILURE IS PART OF THE PROCESS WILL MOTIVATE YOU TO TAKE MORE RISKS AND TRY HARDER. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and started a company, Traf-O-Data, which went nowhere. But his passion for computers remained. He went on to build the Microsoft empire and is now one of the wealthiest men in the world. He took risks. He didn’t give up. 1


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2 GREAT LEADERS CONFRONT FAILURE.


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FROM A YOUNG AGE WE ARE TAUGHT THAT MAKING MISTAKES IS BAD. 2


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FROM A YOUNG AGE WE ARE TAUGHT THAT MAKING MISTAKES IS BAD. Painful memories of past failures trigger negative emotions like fear and anxiety which prevent us from taking risks in the present. It’s better to confront your failure than to run away from it. 2


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FROM A YOUNG AGE WE ARE TAUGHT THAT MAKING MISTAKES IS BAD. Painful memories of past failures trigger negative emotions like fear and anxiety which prevent us from taking risks in the present. It’s better to confront your failure than to run away from it. TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON THE MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE 2


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FROM A YOUNG AGE WE ARE TAUGHT THAT MAKING MISTAKES IS BAD. Painful memories of past failures trigger negative emotions like fear and anxiety which prevent us from taking risks in the present. It’s better to confront your failure than to run away from it. TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON THE MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE Evaluate how you could have improved on the situation. Write down the lessons you have learned. 2


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3 GREAT LEADERS ARE VULNERABLE.


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SUCCESSFUL LEADERS NEVER HIDE THE FACT THAT THEY MAKE MISTAKES. 3


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SUCCESSFUL LEADERS NEVER HIDE THE FACT THAT THEY MAKE MISTAKES. OPEN UP TO YOUR TEAM WHEN YOU GET IT WRONG 3


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SUCCESSFUL LEADERS NEVER HIDE THE FACT THAT THEY MAKE MISTAKES. OPEN UP TO YOUR TEAM WHEN YOU GET IT WRONG Create an environment where they can admit their failures too. 3


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SUCCESSFUL LEADERS NEVER HIDE THE FACT THAT THEY MAKE MISTAKES. OPEN UP TO YOUR TEAM WHEN YOU GET IT WRONG Create an environment where they can admit their failures too. Surround yourself with a strong team who will rally behind you or a mentor who will hold you accountable and offer guidance. This will ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice. 3


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4 GREAT LEADERS FAIL FORWARD.


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THOMAS EDISON SAID, I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work 4


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THOMAS EDISON SAID, I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work Change your perspective. 4


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THOMAS EDISON SAID, I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work Change your perspective. See your failures as stepping stones to greatness and let go of your fear of getting it wrong. 4


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WRITE DOWN MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES OR STORIES ABOUT LEADERS 4


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WRITE DOWN MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES OR STORIES ABOUT LEADERS who failed before they became successful. 4


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WRITE DOWN MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES OR STORIES ABOUT LEADERS who failed before they became successful. • Stick them up in your office. 4


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WRITE DOWN MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES OR STORIES ABOUT LEADERS who failed before they became successful. • Stick them up in your office. • Make them your mantra to turn to when you feel defeated. 4


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5 GREAT LEADERS RECOVER FAST.


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WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, PEOPLE WILL INEVITABLY SEEK CONTEXT. 5


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WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, PEOPLE WILL INEVITABLY SEEK CONTEXT. THE BEST LEADERS DO NOT LET THE BURDEN OF THE BLAME GET TO THEM. 5


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WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, PEOPLE WILL INEVITABLY SEEK CONTEXT. THE BEST LEADERS DO NOT LET THE BURDEN OF THE BLAME GET TO THEM. • Help people to understand the context of the problem. 5


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WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, PEOPLE WILL INEVITABLY SEEK CONTEXT. THE BEST LEADERS DO NOT LET THE BURDEN OF THE BLAME GET TO THEM. • Help people to understand the context of the problem. • Respond confidently with solutions. 5


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6 GREAT LEADERS FIGHT BACK.


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS 6


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS returned to an active executive role within two years of departure, but 43% effectively ended their careers. 6


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS returned to an active executive role within two years of departure, but 43% effectively ended their careers. LEADERS ARE QUICK TO BLAME THEMSELVES 6


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS returned to an active executive role within two years of departure, but 43% effectively ended their careers. LEADERS ARE QUICK TO BLAME THEMSELVES and often dwell on the past rather than look to the future. The ability to rise above failure is an essential feature of becoming a great leader. 6


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS returned to an active executive role within two years of departure, but 43% effectively ended their careers. LEADERS ARE QUICK TO BLAME THEMSELVES and often dwell on the past rather than look to the future. The ability to rise above failure is an essential feature of becoming a great leader. • Fight back. 6


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS returned to an active executive role within two years of departure, but 43% effectively ended their careers. LEADERS ARE QUICK TO BLAME THEMSELVES and often dwell on the past rather than look to the future. The ability to rise above failure is an essential feature of becoming a great leader. • Fight back. • Be energised by failure. 6


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35% OF OUSTED CEOS returned to an active executive role within two years of departure, but 43% effectively ended their careers. LEADERS ARE QUICK TO BLAME THEMSELVES and often dwell on the past rather than look to the future. The ability to rise above failure is an essential feature of becoming a great leader. • Fight back. • Be energised by failure. • Look for the opportunities it brings. 6


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7 GREAT LEADERS MAKE TOUGH CHOICES.


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YOU ARE WISER BECAUSE OF YOUR FAILURES. 7


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YOU ARE WISER BECAUSE OF YOUR FAILURES. Weigh up the worth of your mistake and decide whether it’s worth fighting for or letting go of. 7


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DEVELOP A STRATEGY TO MOVE FORWARD. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. 7


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DEVELOP A STRATEGY TO MOVE FORWARD. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Akio Morito co-founded Sony. The first product they sold was a rice-cooker which burnt rice more than it cooked it. They made the choice to abandon this idea and moved on to building a multi-billion dollar software company. 7


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8 GREAT LEADERS REALISE THEIR RESPONSIBILITY.


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APPRECIATE THE DUTY YOU HAVE AS A LEADER TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY. 8


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APPRECIATE THE DUTY YOU HAVE AS A LEADER TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY. Great leaders have a profound impact on others. . 8


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APPRECIATE THE DUTY YOU HAVE AS A LEADER TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY. Great leaders have a profound impact on others. HOW ARE YOU USING THE LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED TO INFLUENCE THOSE AROUND YOU? 8


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APPRECIATE THE DUTY YOU HAVE AS A LEADER TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY. Great leaders have a profound impact on others. HOW ARE YOU USING THE LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED TO INFLUENCE THOSE AROUND YOU? Find innovative ways to improve your skills and become a more effective leader for your team. 8


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9 GREAT LEADERS TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM.


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SOMETIMES YOUR TEAM WILL WANT TO MAKE RISKY DECISIONS 9


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SOMETIMES YOUR TEAM WILL WANT TO MAKE RISKY DECISIONS - the kind that could achieve great success or could go horribly wrong. 9


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SOMETIMES YOUR TEAM WILL WANT TO MAKE RISKY DECISIONS - the kind that could achieve great success or could go horribly wrong. BE PREPARED TO HAVE THEIR BACK IF THEY FAIL. BUT LET THEM TAKE THE RISK ANYWAY. 9


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SOMETIMES YOUR TEAM WILL WANT TO MAKE RISKY DECISIONS - the kind that could achieve great success or could go horribly wrong. BE PREPARED TO HAVE THEIR BACK IF THEY FAIL. BUT LET THEM TAKE THE RISK ANYWAY. Establish a company culture where failure is celebrated. 9


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10 GREAT LEADERS KNOW WHEN TO TAKE A STEP BACK.


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IT’S REFLECTION TIME AGAIN. 10


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IT’S REFLECTION TIME AGAIN. Take a step back and consider the failures you identified, the lessons learnt and the opportunities available. 10


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IT’S REFLECTION TIME AGAIN. Take a step back and consider the failures you identified, the lessons learnt and the opportunities available. WRITE DOWN HOW THIS HAS IMPACTED YOU AS A LEADER. 10


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IT’S REFLECTION TIME AGAIN. Take a step back and consider the failures you identified, the lessons learnt and the opportunities available. WRITE DOWN HOW THIS HAS IMPACTED YOU AS A LEADER. Use this as a reminder for next time something goes wrong. 10


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ONE FINAL PIECE OF INSPIRATION:


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ONE FINAL PIECE OF INSPIRATION: Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – ROBERT F. KENNEDY


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How will you use today’s failure for tomorrow’s success?


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Empower yourself with a world-class education from the University of Cape Town and GetSmarter: getsmarter.co.za


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Improving lives through better education getsmarter.co.za


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