7 Ways For Leaders To Succeed Through Failure

Failure Treadmill

How we fail when everyone is trying to succeed determines whether we will achieve success through failure.

Failure may not be what we wake up every day hoping for, but as a coach to successful leaders I have noticed that those who surround themselves with and embrace failure are the ones more likely to succeed.

Here are 7 behaviours you can use to punch through failure:

1. Fail Fast, Succeed Slow: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Most successful business leaders failed multiple time before they had a success.

“Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Succeed And Then Fail: A big success can hold you a high bar of what success is. This can make you less open to failure Put your ego aside, lower your benchmark and be prepared to fail before your next success. You will then be able to iterate more, with less pressure should you fail.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” – Winston Churchill

3. Get Into Failure Flow: Be failure mindful as failing without learning is a wasteful exercise. Be aware of what is happening as an initiative fails. In failure flow you will be receptive to seeing the elements that lead to failure as if in slow motion.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford

4. Process Failure: Use a framework to analyse what happened after the fact. Who was responsible? What was the failure algorithm? Is it repeatable or preventable.? What data would make it preventable?

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone.” – Johnny Cash

5. Only Fail When You Cannot Succeed: Failure sucks. It sets you back. It impacts the lives of people who believed in and relied on you. Have grit and persistence and don’t choose failure as an easy way out when the going gets tough.

“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter

6. Fail Resiliently: Get up, take the hit and move forward. When you fail, and I sincerely hope you will, how do you treat it? Every failure is one step close to success. How you deal with each failure, big or small, determines whether you will succeed.

“Failure are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis

7. Feeling like a failure is not failing: Many successful people feel like failures. Decouple your feelings from external perceptions of success or failure. Seek alignment with what success looks like to you, don’t rely on outside assurances. Reconnect with your feelings and drop the narrative you want to create for them.

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” – John Green


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Quests Can Be Massively Transformative. Here’s How To Choose Yours


“When your desire is not clear nor strong, it cannot take shape. Besides, if your desires are personal, for your own enjoyment, the energy you give them is necessarily limited; it cannot be more than what you have. When you desire the common good, the whole world desires with you. Make humanity’s desire your own and work for it. There you cannot fail.”                         Nisargadatta Maharaj

This quote points to the power of having a quest that is bigger than yourself.

Taking on a quest is a transformative trigger. By doing so you are giving yourself permission to change. Here we look more closely at the nature of quest.

What defines a quest?

It is classically understood to be a journey towards a goal. It is the act of seeking or pursuing something important. In many cultures it is viewed as a long and difficult effort to find or do something.

In contrast to simply living day to day, focusing on a quest changes your perspective: it’s bigger, it’s harder, it’s longer, but doing it packs a punch. In fact, the essence of a quest is change. If a quest doesn’t leave you changed, it’s more a hobby than a quest.

8 common quest characteristics

* What are you ready to own?
A quest is an act. It requires you to step up and own it. You take on the responsibility of doing your utmost to complete the quest.

* What do you already know you have to do?
Determining what quest to embark on may at first seem daunting. Until you realise that it can be influenced by injustices, by inequalities or by the hand fate deals you. In many respects a quest is presented to you, not selected by you.

* What is the difference you can make for others?
A quest is bigger than you. A quest is not about you. It is not about gaining recognition or status. If it doesn’t benefit others, be they a community, a company, a country or even the entire world, then it isn’t a quest. As such a quest benefits the many, even though some or all may never become aware of what was done for them.

* What intention can you crystallize?
A quest can be long, challenging and anything but linear. At any stage you can get sidetracked or lost. It’s imperative that you crystallize out a compelling intention that you can hold onto in order to reinforce your thinking and ensure you stay the distance and complete the quest.

* How can you attract others to your quest team?
the quest does not have to be undertaken alone. Remember that pride has nothing to do with it. At different times on your quest journey you may need different kinds of support. Determine how you can attract the best team around you to help you complete the quest.

* What is your next step?
A quest requires momentum and movement. A quest is completed one step at a time. It cannot be done by not taking action and you need to constantly be putting one foot in front of the other, constantly thinking about the next step.

* Are you ready to take a leap of faith?
Questing is not for the fainthearted. You will be required to take many and myriad leaps of faith on your quest journey. There will be times when you doubt yourself. There will be moments of second-guessing. Fear may be your constant companion. You may want to turn back or find an easier way, but you can overcome these tests on your resolve.

* Are you ready to brave the elements?
Embarking on a quest is filled with uncertainty. As much as you plan, the outcome of a quest can never be known in advance. A quest is an organic journey of exploration. You need to build an understanding deep within you that you are comfortable with whatever happens. Your normal constraints and constructs will get in the way and try to hold you back from making the choices and taking the action that the quest demands of you. You will need to be willing to stride into the center of the field and stand exposed, braving the elements and embracing change.

Come Alive

The EXOscalr Come Alive Program is a 12-month, quest-based coaching program designed to trigger and support clients on their quest journey.



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A Unique Opportunity to Experience the EXOscalr Coaching Philosophy

How do you know if transformational coaching is for you? No amount of marketing material can help you make up your mind. It is an intensely personal choice, both for you as client and for your potential coach. There needs to be a meeting of the minds for both of you. The only way to really gauge compatibility is to do a coaching session.

In this spirit, the philosophy we are taking at EXOscalr is to invite interested people to join us for a one on one coaching session. Our premise is that, even if you do not become a member of our Masters Circle we will make a difference in your life and that makes it worth doing.

Visit our page to get more information and click on the call to action if you want to avail yourself of this opportunity.



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Boardroom Disruption: How Silicon Valley and the Fear of Missing Out Can Reinvent Your Business


The Silicon Valley tech-mythology-machine, replete as it is with unicorns and trolls, is a wondrous device designed as much to assist in reality distortion and suspension as it is in self-paving its streets with digital gold.

We all know the story of how the Valley has reinvented itself through various technology phases. Currently it is awash with apps and social media. Even though they helped create this social flow, a few of the tech pundits are swimming against this tide, reinventing themselves as mindfulness gurus, but that’s a fairy tale for another time.

There is a new tide washing into the Valley: autonomy – artificial intelligence, self-driving everything, asset-rich services on demand and cognitive systems that know us to the point where they are 2-3 moves ahead of us in our own personal game of thrones. Their aim is to be 6 moves ahead, and they are rapidly progressing to this point.

But this is all backdrop.

The real foundation of Silicon Valley, the grease in its gears is FEAR. In particular, the FEAR of MISSING OUT (FOMO) is driving the Valley’s sense of urgency.

FOMO is the ultimate reality distortion field creator. This is best explained through examining the fluidity between viewing a new venture in terms of its friction points versus how much it could scale with limitless fuel. Take Uber as an example. Donning friction-tainted lenses restricted many from seeing it as anything more than yet another taxi service, operating in a highly regulated market with well entrenched incumbents. However, for those who looked at Uber through fuel-filled lenses, they saw its true potential, namely to revolutionise transport. They were able to suspend reality long enough to understand the ultimate promise of Uber.  Those who then went on to invest early enough into the company may be rewarded handsomely.

In a low FOMO environment, i.e. most other places on the planet than Silicon Valley, there is little incentive for people to don fuel-filled lenses. They have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for a venture to achieve sufficient traction, they wait for the entrepreneurs to derisk the business. However in a high FOMO environment, those who hesitate: miss out.

Nowhere else on the planet is the FOMO-meter so high. In fact, it is off the charts in comparison to many other geographies. The same can be said for the boardrooms of so many companies. Does your company have a FOMO culture at executive level? For most organisations the answer is a resounding “no”. How then can incumbents compete against agile Silicon Valley startups? The short answer is that they cannot.

Ask the former Kodak board if they understood FOMO. Apparently not.

I’d like to advocate that every board, every senior executive needs to up their FOMO ante. How high you might ask? Not to hysterical levels, but high enough to palpably increase the urgency around tackling disruptive innovation. High enough to also burn the boats and chart new courses if necessary. Definitely higher than the dual path some would advocate of keeping business as usual turning over while exploring new paths on the side.

How do you instill FOMO into the boardroom?

1. In the short term, have your board do a tour of the Valley. Not the bells and whistles version with champagne on the tour bus, but the grungy start up tour where they get exposed to the highest levels of FOMO.

2. In the mid term, look to bring Silicon Valley into the boardroom. Place at least one FOMO expert on the board. Their experience and skills will prove invaluable to you in dealing with the status quo.


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Does Your Business Have the Capabilities for Achieving Exponential Growth?

As CEOs and Boards you are faced with an unprecedented level of pressure to achieve growth. Your company needs to stay ahead of increasingly aggressive competition, from other companies in your industry, from outside your industry and even from scrappy startups who define their own playbook.

Growth is not a lever you turn on or off at will. It requires focus, it requires a set of core capabilities that work together as a well-honed scalable operating system. Does your company have such an operating system in place? To achieve the nirvana of hyper-growth, this operating system needs to be working at peak performance capacity. How close is your business to operating at optimal capacity?


We’ve designed a set of questions that help you uncover whether your business has scale in its DNA, whether it will be constrained by limitations and frictions and whether it has the capability to easily add fuel into its mix.

You can access the quiz via exoscalr.com or directly here.


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CEO Top Priorities: How to Achieve Growth Using the Universal Rules of Exponential Scaling

SydneyOverwhelmingly, CEOs’ mission-critical priorities over the last few years have been and continue to be dominated by growth. Their focus is increasingly on digital, and if you consider the combination of growth and information technology, what we call GROWIT, this represents a very high percentage of the priority focus for CEOs in 2015.

What is GROWIT?

Growth can mean many things, but for Fortune 500 CEOs in 2015 it mainly means moving into new geographies and new markets. Within the IT part of GROWIT there is more and more impetus around the shift into digital.

More CEOs see digital as having a disruptively deep impact than those who don’t and the vast majority of CEO’s feel that technology innovation is accelerating faster and faster.

Against this backdrop, our focus when working as transformation coaches with CEOs is to help them achieve rapid or hyper growth by utilising the Universal Rules of Exponential Scaling.

We help them focus by keeping things simple, by reducing things down to their essence and making them measurable, repeatable and improvable. At EXOscalr we make use of a very, very simple scaling algorithm – scaling involves adding fuel and removing friction.

  The higher the fuel:friction differential, the higher their company’s growth velocity.

Let’s use talent as an example. Talent is an essential area that CEOs focus on to generate the fuel needed for growth. At EXOscalr we optimise the ability of our clients to attract and retain top talent through the use of the Talent Density Algorithm –  essentially,

the higher their talent density, the less requirement for process, and
–  the higher their process, the lower their top talent retention.

In this respect, top talent becomes a magnet for other top talent, fuelling business growth. In contrast, companies that are too process heavy and too bureaucratically organized contain too many frictions for top talent either to want to work there or to stay working there.

It’s very important to understand that the Fuel/Friction differential will change over time. This is the whole point and we encourage CEOs and other business leaders to get granular with how they measure, monitor and progress their interaction with this differential.

What can CEOs do to improve their Fuel:Friction Differential?

CEOs can take control of the Fuel:Friction Differential by engaging with their executive team as follows:

  • In regular exec team meetings, let’s say weekly*, they throw up on a board all the factors that are holding the company back, and the opportunities they have to push it forward.
  • The team quickly diagnoses the current balance of Fuel/Friction forces, then ranks the items by their impact and ease of execution.  Priority is given to the high-impact, low-difficulty items first, and they spend the next week addressing these forces.  As the Fuel/Friction equation improves, the company is set to grow faster.
  • Repeat. Regularly.

* [We suggest the frequency of these meetings should depend how much growth features as a company’s mission critical priority – if it is imperative and the urgency is being driven by facing corporate extinction because of competitive threat, for example, then weekly meetings may not be the right frequency, daily may be more suitable.]