Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The meaning of failure

I always find it interesting to read about, talk with, and learn from CEOs and leaders in other industries. Many of the challenges they face are similar to what coaches deal with. Further, their strategies, ideas, and perspectives are often useful.

For example, in the July 7 issue of Fortune magazine, the author asked two CEOs and one business consultant about failure and what it means to them. Four goods points:

1. You can be tolerant of failure, but not of mediocrity and incompetence. Incompetence is a lack of commitment to excellence. In coaching, it's important to be able to recognize the difference between a player who failed (in a game, in reaching a personal goal, etc.), but who is driven to succeed, and one who is simply not committed to winning.

2. Failure is a motivator. Thomas Edison achieved his great success through repeated failure. The best coaches bounce back harder after failing to achieve a goal.

3. Give people who have failed another chance. Give them more resources or the opportunity to institutionalize what they've learned. Critics considered Doc Rivers a failure following Boston's 2006-07 season. Danny Ainge not only gave Doc another chance, he also gave him more resources (i.e., an upgraded roster). We all know the result.

4. The only way to come up with a breakthrough is to take bigger risks. That might mean taking a risk on a player, making a big trade, or trying a new scheme.