323 - Handling Failure - John Laurito

We all have bad days and weeks when nothing seems to go right. We all also have times when we fail to achieve something that we really want and find it hard to cope. Failure can be an unpleasant and unwanted experience. Today host John Laurito talks about failure and how the way you handle it as a leader can reflect how your organization handles it as a whole.

[0:00] Intro

[0:42] The riddle’s answer

[2:13] Hooked on fantasy football

[5:20] How do you handle failure as a leader?

[7:48] Reflect on how you or your leaders handled the organization’s past failures

[9:36] Talk about how people handle failure

[11:07] Are you displaying tolerance for failure?

[11:23] Look at how you deal with failure

[13:11] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. I write my fine fans of the show. My name is John Laurito. 

John Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. Thank you for joining us today. So, first of all, first things first, the the answer to the riddle from a couple of weeks ago, which I neglected to tell you last episode. So this is two episodes to go. If you want to go back and listen up, I’m going to tell you what it is anyway. I got no, no correct answers. So I’m going to tell you the answer. And the riddle is or was. How can a father and son also be brothers? Father and son are also brothers. Is that possible? Is it even possible? Yes, it is. And here’s the answer. Father and son are part of the same fraternity. And hence. Yes, I said hence. Hence they are also brothers. There you go. Now you know what the best part of that riddle is? The best part of the riddle is two great things about it. One is nobody gets it right. Secondly, as I came up with it, I invented it. I invented a riddle. I am literally a riddle inventor. I created that. I don’t know if there’s a way for me to copyright that or something, but that’s my baby. 

John That’s my riddle. So and nobody gets it. And if you’re sitting there listening and saying, Well, I knew the answer to that, it doesn’t count. I didn’t hear from you. I didn’t get a text. I didn’t get an email. I didn’t get a call. Nothing. So UN wage guesses or UN certified or submitted guesses don’t count. So sorry in any event, but that is the answer to the riddle. So I have gotten into fantasy football and I got to tell you, this is kind of like an addiction now. I don’t know. I’m sure many of you have been doing this for a lot of years. I did it a couple of years ago and then I missed it last year and I got into it this year. And it’s not for success. It’s not because I’m doing well. I got to tell you, I lost the first three weeks I lost and the first week I absolutely deserved to lose. I had two guys on my roster that weren’t even playing. Like, what? I just. I totally lost track of time. I didn’t check my my roster, you know, before the 1:00 game on Sunday and just had two guys in there that were We’re not playing. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, you can’t expect to win in those circumstances. So I lost like I got my butt kicked that week. Second week I should have lost also. Third week I lost by like a fraction of a point, literally was down to the last minute of Sunday night’s game. I needed my running back just to touch the ball and it didn’t happen. So I lost by a fraction of a point. Just disappointing. I won week four and I’m just about, I hope, knock on wood to win week five. 

John So I’ll keep you updated. But in any event, I bring this up only because there was a great game last night. There’s a lot of great games. But the Eagles wow five and oh go birds five and oh undefeated so far this season that’s awesome. Love it. They had a game they’re playing against the Cardinals last night. Cardinals 18 seconds left. In the fourth quarter, they had a 43 yard, 43 yard field goal attempt to tie it it in overtime. And unfortunately, Matt Amendola, unfortunately for him and the Cardinals shanked it right and missed the field goal attempt obviously devastated feel bad for the guy I mean my gosh so can you imagine the pressure in that situation? You know, the whole team is relying on you. You’ve got one kick. You got to make it. It’s 43 yards. It’s not a short kick, but not a real long kick and very doable. And you shank it. And in any event, needless to say, blame going all over the place toward him and presses all over the guy. They get the, you know, Diana interview, the guy, poor guy after the, you know, locker room, they get him outside the locker room is surrounded by reporters peppering with questions. And then Justin Pugh comes over and says, breaks up the interview. He interrupts the interviews like, guys, no, no, no, no, no. This is not one guy. This is not we don’t lose because of a missed kick. I could have blocked better. We could have played we could have played the whole game. But it better. Everybody had something to do with this loss. It wasn’t just one person. It wasn’t one kick. We lost the game throughout the game. We didn’t lose it in the last 18 seconds. 

John The blame doesn’t fall on this one person. And then he turned to Matt Amendola. He said, Listen, man, lift your head up. You’re a great player. You got all kinds of games ahead of you. You’re going to do better next time. Don’t just brush it off. What an awesome display of leadership. I mean, what a cool display of leadership. And he’s right. I mean, honestly, this the game was not lost by that one kick, that one kick, that that was one fraction of the game, one tiny fraction of the game. The game was lost in the other, the four, four quarters. It wasn’t lost in the last 18 seconds. So I thought I thought just imputed that a great thing, displayed great leadership. And it brings up a big question is how how do you as a leader handle failure? And more particular, the question is how do you want your organization to handle failure? How do you want your organization, people in your organization to handle setbacks? You know, do you want them ultimately because as many different ways people handle. Well, failures and setbacks. And listen, you’re in this life and business and this game long enough. You’re going to you’re going to make all kinds of failures, mistakes, setbacks. Things are going to be broken. You’re going to do things you regret. Whatever the case, you’re going to make bad decisions. So the question is not, can you avoid this stuff? You’re going to have setbacks, you’re going to have failures. But I see a vast difference between organizations and leaders in terms of the tone they set around failures and setbacks. I see some organizations where people are just devastated by failure. They are in like a comatose state after a failure. 

John They they look at it as such a significant setback and they feel like it’s a it’s a setback not only on the organization, it’s a setback on them personally and professionally. It affects their career. So think about that. If you’re in that situation, let’s say whatever role you’re in that you have such significant consequences to a failure. What are you doing? Like literally, how are you? How are you playing the game of life for your career? You’re playing incredibly cautiously, right? You’re playing not to fail. You’re not playing to win. You’re playing not to fail because the price of failure is so significant and so costly. And and I know some leaders are out there listening. They’re like, why don’t you have that type of environment? Well, you may not think you do, but you actually may you may unintentionally be kind of creating that environment when you don’t even realize it. So I ask you to think back to the last few setbacks that you’ve seen, people that have done something that was unsuccessful or they didn’t make a sale or they lost a big client, or they just made a big, costly mistake, whatever the case is. And how did you, as a leader, handle them or in particular, how did your leaders handle that? How did other people in the organization handle it? Were people looking quickly to point fingers and place blame, or were they actually trying to learn from it? And I’ve seen all kinds of different environments. I’ve seen some that actually celebrate failures and setbacks because they know that that’s part of their growth cycle and they’re going to ultimately figure things out at a faster rate when they can get through the failures faster, they’re going to have success, fail faster. 

John So their mentality is different. It’s not actually looked at as a bad thing to fail. It’s actually looked at as it’s expected. And what’s a key part of that is when you fail to look and say, okay, what did I do? What caused that failure? What am I going to do differently next time? And that’s a key thing. You know, I lost that stupid first game of fantasy football because I made a stupid, dumb mistake and I didn’t check my roster half an hour or an hour before the 1:00 game on Sunday. Well, am I going to do that again? I knew what it was that caused that failure, and it was just my lack of attention to detail. That was it. And now I fixed it. So now I don’t make that failure again. Now I can help other people and I have other people in the fantasy playing fantasy. I’m like, Hey, make sure you check your roster or like, you know, because sometimes, you know, even an hour before some players playing and then half an hour before they’re not, they’re out there questionable, whatever the case may be. So you got to that’s a learning for me that I pass on other people. So hopefully they don’t make the same mistake. So as a leader in your next whatever you call at a town hall bar branch meeting, whatever it is, talk about this concept. Talk about how people handle failure and talk about your perspective on it. You know, my perspective as a leader is I want people now, I don’t want people making the same mistake over and over again. But if they make a mistake, number one, I expect people to make mistakes because if they’re not, then they’re not trying hard enough. 

John They’re not taking risks. I want them to take the right types of risks, and I want them to to make mistakes, have failures and setbacks, and then figure out what they learn from it that’s going to make them better and stronger moving forward. But I also don’t want that to be a private lesson. You know, I don’t want that to be just a conversation that’s going on in their head. I want them to broadcast that and share that with other people, just like I did with the fantasy. Hey, I know there’s other people are going to make that same mistake. Okay? I know that’s the case. I mean, my guest, Matt Amendola, is one kicker in the league. Every other kicker is missed. A critical kick that’s going to happen. So so you know it’s going to happen. Don’t beat yourself up too badly about it. It’s just something. Yeah, it’s okay to get frustrated. Annoyed, but realize it’s just part of the game. You know, he’s going to have other kicks. They’re going to save the game and win the game. That’s just part of the life of being a kicker. So the life of being a leader or another employee or some kind of role in your organization is they’re going to have great days and great weeks and great months, and they’re going to have really shitty days and shitty weeks and maybe shitty months. Okay? There are great leaders and great people that have bad circumstances and bad periods of time you have. You as a leader, give room for that and and show a tolerance for that. That’s the big thing is do you have and are you displaying a tolerance for failure? The other last point I’ll make is look in the mirror at how you handle failure. 

John So there are leaders that when they make a mistake, they’re very quiet about it. They feel like if I show people or let people know that I made a mistake, it’s a sign of weakness. Maybe my credibility goes down. Maybe I my influence goes down, people’s confidence in me goes down. I got to tell you some it’s not the case. It’s the opposite. Right. Because they know that you made a mistake. If they do know you made a mistake and you’re not owning up to it, then that ultimately causes them to have less respect for you and credibility. And then it causes them. You’re modeling a behavior you don’t want to do. You want you don’t want your people to have you don’t want them not owning up to a mistake or a failure. You don’t want them keeping trying to brush it under a rug and ignore it or run away from it or put the blame on somebody else. So if you’re doing that, what’s that going to mean? Again, your organization is a total representation of yourself in every single category. So realize that how you handle that magnified that times a thousand and that’s how your organization is going to handle it. So I hope this was helpful. Just some thoughts on on owning failure and setbacks and such a key thing for a leader to be able to do to breed the right mentality in their organization. You want people running fast and hard playing to win, not playing, not to lose. That is key. So take that for what it’s worth. Run with it. Give me some feedback, some thoughts, some ideas. Shoot some questions to me, whatever. I’d love to hear your ideas and some of the things that you’re dealing with. 

John As always, appreciate you joining today and like share, subscribe, go down below. Give a five star review and we’ll see you next time. Thanks. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com.Thanks, lead on!

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