Taking stock of your past and learning from your mistakes is key to growing as a leader and encouraging innovation in your business ventures. Howbridge CEO Jeff Prag discusses 3 key lessons from his own experience.
How do you encourage growth in your leadership and innovation in your business?
Take stock of your past and learn from your mistakes.
Mistakes provide some of the best lessons learned and all play an important role in your journey as a business owner—despite how bitter these pills can be to swallow.
Unfortunately, all too often, we’re taught to shy away from these experiences. To bury them for fear of looking weak or ill-equipped to succeed in the future. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you ask me, failing to learn from your past is a recipe for stagnation.
After starting and building two companies, and working alongside 100 more to help them scale and grow, I know firsthand the best leaders and the most innovative companies are those that encourage failure and reflection.
Science shows us that making mistakes encourages brain growth. As you move through a learning experience—like creating a new product, for example—your brain makes new neural pathways by taking in new information and compiling the key takeaways from trial and error.
Studies show those errors result in more efficient synapses (how the neurons in your brain communicate with each other) in the brain.
In other words, failure can actually make you smarter.
But, in my experience, it’s the reflection on those mistakes or lessons that makes a better leader. This leads me to one of the first lessons I’ve come to embrace during my time as a leader…
Always Question Your Assumptions
When it comes to self-reflection, the most useful exercises involve an analysis of your beliefs. Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst chaos, untangle and sort through your observations and experiences, and consider other angles.
Research shows those who spend 15 minutes at the end of each day reflecting on their progress and failure perform 25% better than those who don’t.
But here’s the catch: this kind of self-reflection requires a strong will, the ability to be flexible, and the courage to truly look yourself in the eye.
And that’s not a practice everyone is comfortable with, which leads me to my second lesson…
Stay Confident and Willing to Take Risks
In order to succeed as both a business owner and a leader, you have to stay confident.
Not only do you need strength and confidence to question yourself and learn from your mistakes, but you also need to inspire your team. After all, how are you going to inspire innovation if you’re too scared to innovate yourself?
Here’s a secret: the number of people actually taking risks is actually pretty low.
It may seem high, considering the influx of entrepreneurial businesses these days. But in reality, it’s not—because it’s hard. We’re trained to take the path of least resistance and minimize risk, especially when it comes to our careers and money.
So, make it a point to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace the confident leader you are. This brings me to my third lesson…
Don’t Keep “Yes Men” Around
I’ve seen a lot of clients who have executive teams that will “yes” them to death. But in order to question your assumptions and gain confidence in risk-taking, you don’t need a yes man—you need to be challenged.
Sure, you want to surround yourself with people who are aligned with your values. But they should hold different viewpoints, experiences and beliefs.
You want healthy debate around the boardroom table—that’s where real innovation lies.
And if you’re looking for a team that brings a variety of experiences and viewpoints to the table, you’ve come to the right place.
When the Howbridge team works with you, we become an extension of your team—one that delivers honesty and objectivity. We’ll help you stay accountable to your vision while encouraging you to reflect on the mistakes and lessons that will build a stronger, more innovative leader in the long run.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Book a Discovery Call today to learn how Howbridge can support you and your business.