I Love to Fail Forward!

This is a guest post by Lisa Stirgus. She is a District Manager at VP at Wells Fargo.


When Amber asked me to write a guest blog, my first response was a very excited YES! Then reality set in and I quickly remembered that I have minor anxiety attacks when I have to put my thoughts into writing. After thinking about a fun topic to catch you, the reader’s, eye I thought I would follow up on some thoughts I had after my earlier interview with Amber.

The very best leaders are learners. They are not afraid to admit they do not have all the answers and they are always asking, “what can I learn from this?” Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of wasted time and energy invested in defending actions. I have become a little obsessed about helping my team understand that defensive attitudes are barriers for learning. Removing barriers and helping my team realize that leaders are never satisfied with status quo, opens up opportunity that frees them to enjoy the journey, grow to the next level of excellence, and remain excited about their progress and development. It’s what I call failing forward.

It’s a statement that is near and dear to my heart, and one I’ve come to live by. I learned this from my personal development coach when I first became a District Manager and after beating myself up over the hundreds of mistakes I made my first day. It wasn’t productive to spend time worrying about what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done. Instead, I let my guard down, stepped away from the fear of “I did something wrong,” and learned to be open to feedback. I learned to become a learner. When I did, the positive growth gained from the situation and implementing my learning helped me progress so much further and become a stronger leader.

As leaders, creating space for learning gives us more time in our day to improve processes, implement solutions, and succeed at a faster more positive rate. So, break down those defensive barriers and fail forward.  When you do, you’ll become a stronger, more successful leader.