ENT 630: It's a Jungle in There

Week 6 Blog: Ch. 18 Learn from Failure; Graduate to Success

Week 6 Blog: Ch. 18 Learn from Failure; Graduate to Success


“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the key traits every entrepreneurs needs to have in order to succeed is persistence. Persistence to continue on through failure. Failure will knock you down, but you can’t let it keep you down. “When it comes to entrepreneurship, the real problem isn’t failure – its learning how to deal with it and using that information to graduate to success.” (Schussler)

There are three things Schussler says every entrepreneur should learn from failure.

  1. Failure is not permanent, if an entrepreneur is not able to bounce back from failures they will never be able to reach success. Failure should never paralyze you from moving forward.
  2. Humility, never let your ego get in the way of overcoming failure. Accept it, and move on, don’t live in it and dwell in it.
  3. Appreciate success, it may be a long road to get there but if you are able to persist through the doubt and failure you can get there. Appreciate the successes you have accomplished and move past the failures.

Persistence, and perseverance is what will lead you to success as an entrepreneur.  With each failure you must realize that not all is lost, there is something to learn and something can be gained to move forward with knowledge in created your business. It may be a rough ride, but you will never reach success if you aren’t willing to hold on through the rough times.

In an article by the Harvard Business Review, Edmondson lists ways on how to embrace failure in business.

  • The Blame Game – not placing blame in order to create a culture where it is safe to admit failures and reward from learning from those failures.
  • Not All Failures Are Created Equal – Understanding failures causes and context, in three categories: preventable, complexity-related, and intelligent. The spectrum of Reasons for failure range from blameworthy to praiseworthy in this order: Deviance, Inattention, Lack of ability, Process inadequacy, Task challenge, Process complexity, Uncertainty, Hypothesis testing, Exploratory testing.
  • Preventable failures in predictable operations. Deviance, inattention and lack of ability are usually the cause which can be easily identifiable and solutions created.
  • Unavoidable failures in complex systems. Uncertainty of work, people’s needs, and problems that are not predictable.
  • Intelligent failure at the frontier. Failures that occur when experimentation is necessary, a new situation that knowledge can be gained from.
  • Building a learning culture. Leaders facilitate a learning environment to feel comfortable with learning from failures, and not focusing on the blame game.
  • Detecting failure. The goal is to detect failures early before it escalates.
  • Analyzing failure. Identifying the root causes of failure, and analyze what lessons have been learned through the failure, so as to prevent future failures.
  • Promoting Experimentation. Majority of experimentation will fail, but still encourage experimentation because every failure produces valuable information.




Schussler, Steven and Karlins, Marvin. It’s A Jungle in There. New York: Sterling, 2010. Print.


Edmondson, Amy. 2011, April. Strategies for Learning from Failure. https://hbr.org/2011/04/strategies-for-learning-from-failure.


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