Failure is not typically a positive word, but I think it’s absolutely necessary for successful business. We never learn from our successes, but we always learn from our failures.
If we’re not failing, then it often means we are not pushing hard enough, challenging ourselves enough, and we may just be wasting our time. Failure is the only time we start looking at what we’re doing, improving and making ourselves better. When we have success, whether it’s completing a successful project, landing a big deal or getting a promotion, we think we’re doing pretty good.
A great example of this is the Austin real estate market where Stone Development Group is headquartered. It’s doing extremely well right now, but I’m worried that we’re all working so much and so fast that we may not be doing things the right or the best way all the time. But people still want to pay us to develop land and build buildings, so we are. Once it starts slowing down, I think we will really see what we have been doing wrong, and hopefully many of us will take those failures and learn from them.
Failures gives us the chance to do that. We need to look at failure to see why we failed, what we did wrong, what we need to learn, what skills we should add, what people we might need to bring on board.
Hopefully the failure’s not catastrophic. If it is, you learn from it and move on to the next endeavor, which is something I have had to do. I was part owner of a remodeling and construction company that great when economy was thriving, but was not as fortunate through the recession of 2008 and 2009. While that company ultimately failed, I learned how to manage, and not to manage, employees, vendors and subcontractors, while dealing with client expectations . Those lessons are serving me very well now as the founder of Stone Development. We go through these trials to make ourselves better so we’re stronger.
Again, failure through these trials is a necessity, even though it’s not always fun. I’ve heard stories of angel investors that will not inject seed money to anybody who hasn’t failed at something. You don’t become introspective or sit down and debrief with focus when you win. You dive deep into things that went wrong because you want to do better.