Three Ways Winners Look at Failure

Strategy and Development | Insight | Published 02. Sep. 16

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For most people, the normal reaction to failure ranges from the usual disappointment to downright despair. But leaders react better, as no one gets to the top with a victim mentality. 


A leadership position calls for an unsinkable self-confidence and unshakable inner strength born of years of experience. So, we asked seasoned leaders to share their tried-and-tested ways of looking at failures:

As an Investment

For Sammeli Sammalkorpi, Co-Founder of Sievo Oy, size does matter when it comes to failure, “The bigger the failure, the bigger the learning. I don’t look at failures as failures, but learning experiences.”

As a Gift

For Stora Enso’s Senior Vice President for Sourcing Wood Products and Categories, Saki Boukas, failure is not a curse but an opportunity to overcome, “You won’t even have a chance to develop yourself or anybody else if not for failures.”

As a Guru

Eltek ASA’s Director of Global Sourcing Marshall Wood views failure as a trained guide methodically leading its student to enlightenment:

“If my perception is that I have failed, then the first thing I’ll do is reflect on my failure. I’ll think of the reasons why it happened and what I did wrong. I would talk to people for outside perspective. When I finally understand, I would then try to learn from the experience. I know it sounds very cliché-ish, but at the end of the day, if you don’t go through the process of understanding why you failed, you’re likely to repeat that mistake. So, for your future’s sake, consider the mistakes of the past and work towards making sure you don’t do it again.”

The interviews were conducted at the Nordic StrategyForum CPO on the 4th of February 2016 in Latvia. For more on our upcoming events, visit the Event Calendar »

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