Often there is conflict between hiring executives with “no-fail” experiences; versus those with one or two significant failures. Some feel hiring executives with a “failed experience” would be in-valuable in terms of not failing again. They, seemingly, are attracted to failed executives, i.e. Hewett-Packard, as they think that failing a few times will strengthen them such…. That they would more likely be “failure free,” in leading the company henceforth.
For me, I’d give first consideration to the executive who has “no-outs.” Why hire someone who has a “track record” of striking out? At least, give “first preference” to the error-free candidate. My policy would be to let failure be learned on someone else’s clock.
Before anyone cracks a rib on my perspective, let me be clear that I also think that failure can “strengthen” one’s resolve to learn from their mistakes. I admit to making a few of my own. I know that it is said that Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before successfully inventing the light bulb.
Thomas Edison‘s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.
Let me be clear, too, that “testing, refinement, and re-design” does not constitute “failure,” as it more likely, and more often, is “refining success.”
It ALWAYS blows my mind when I see these major national companies hire a “fallen star” from another company. This practice gives rise to the question: How many “fallen starts” rise again?
Abraham Lincoln, as a young man, went to war as a captain and returned a private. Afterwards, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. At about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend, “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.”
Leading a corporation to sustained success is not a “training school” for “wannabe leaders.” Today’s Leading CEO’s are taken from a slate of “proven leaders.” Exceptions to this are those who “own their own companies.” In that case, they almost always “learn on the job.” They sharpen their Leadership skills on “their own time,” their own risk, and their own money.
Our families, some close friends, and most “spiritual leaders” will STAND BEHIND their man….at least several times. On the other hand, we can make “mistake after mistake;” sin after sin, failure after failure…. And God will be there to “pick-up-the-pieces.” He forgives seven-times-seventy. He forgets our failures as far as the east is from the west. Psalms 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
So, no…. I don’t advocate “giving up,” rather, I prefer to look FIRST for a proven leader. Galatians 6:3-5 – For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.…
Remember, it’s up to the applicant to “prove he’s a proven leader.” We… are taught that “adversity” strengthens us… 1 Peter 5:10 – And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. …Blessings….cjlb.5/13/15.