Is Failure a Winning Strategy

I’ll admit failure is my worst fear. Well, behind something happening to my loved ones and perhaps spiders. It’s the fear of ridicule, criticism, and poor choices coming back to haunt.

Perhaps it’s because people love to criticize. Heck, there’s even a blog that is devoted to tracking failure of all shapes and sizes.

But it seems that there are real merits to failure. In fact, going out on a limb, the willingness to fail and learn from it is what truly propels success. Consider this:

  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
  • Freud was booed off stage the first time he tried to present ideas to the scientific community
  • Winston Churchill failed 6th grade
  • Henry Ford went broke 5 times
  • 27 publishers rejected Dr Seuss
  • Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for his lack of imagination and ideas
  • Charles Schultz had every cartoon he created rejected by his high school newspaper
  • The first time Jerry Seinfeld went on stage he froze
  • Beethoven’s violin teacher described him as a “hopeless composer”

The marketing textbooks are filled with case studies of epic failures that seemingly cost companies and careers. My favorite is New Coke, the corporate American marketing blunder of the century. But when you consider that Coke made a significant gain in market share once Coca-Cola Classic was introduced, it is easy to believe that the worst failure turned into the best win.

And in CU Land, University of Iowa Credit Union’s renaming was stopped by the members just hours before it was to go live. Can you imagine a worse nightmare for a credit union marketer? But because of the resilience of their amazing Marketing Director, the credit union has seen double digit growth in all key areas since that fateful day.

So, should failure be an option? Is any publicity good publicity? Or is it simply a matter of how you rebound, the lessons you learn and how quickly you find your feet again? {Failure provides an education no book can teach.}

Maybe Churchill had it right, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”

This is that time of year where we come face to face with the year’s successes and failures. So, if you had a few, consider yourself in good company.



About giraphcu

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to gira{ph}, a strategic marketing firm that helps credit unions amplify their greatness to create chemistry with consumers. The credit union movement has given so much to us. This is our way of giving back. Enjoy!
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