What’s the Real Key to Success? It’s Failure

The World’s Greatest Successes are the World’s Biggest Failures

An article at Harvard Business Review by Jeff Stibel, Chairman and CEO of Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp entitled “Why I hire people who fail.” – described the efforts of a hiring executive to uncover failures in people’s backgrounds. His point? Only by failing do people learn, therefore those who have not failed have not learned.

In his article he cited Apple, who created a “Failure Wall” to learn from mistakes.

Here are three great quotes about failure:

  • “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
  • “I have not failed, I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
  • “Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” – Sophia Loren

This got me to thinking of the risks I personally took in founding the B2B demand generation company Find New Customers in 2009, our many months of failure, and the great successes we enjoy today – delighted clients, Mad Marketing TV and more.

The light bulb went on. Had I not been willing to fail over and over, the success we enjoy today would never have happened.

There’s a lesson for business leaders here. Don’t reject failure – celebrate it. Champion the risk-takers. They are the ones who make great things happen.


Why I hire people who fail

Failure Wall

Find New Customers

About Jeff Ogden

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancyFind New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

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