Fail Your Way to Success But Don’t Fail at These!

We have all heard the adage “you fail your way to success!” A friend recently sent a number of us on his mailing list this inspiring poster of the great Michael Jordan that clearly makes the point. Note the number of championship rings on his hand.


I would argue there are three things Michael Jordan did not fail at. I strongly recommend you not fail at these either. They are: do not fail at investing in you, do not fail at creating heroes in your organization, and do not fail at being decisive.

Don’t fail at investing in yourself

Being the best you can be is imperative for the health of any organization. Being the CEO, head of a department, president of a small company or a professional athlete requires technical proficiency.

This requires investing in oneself. Attending seminars, training sessions, and retreats that are packed with meaningful subject matter in the world of business is akin to the great Michael Jordan spending endless hours, not just on the basketball court but in the classroom studying his play as well as the play of his competition.

When you are “in-charge,” you also need to have sharp leadership skills that work for everyone in your organization. You lead people by example and perform at the top of your game.

Don’t Fail at Creating Heroes in Your Organization

If you are a basketball ball fan, and know the name Michael Jordan, you probably know the name—Scottie Pippin.  That is Scottie Pippin being hugged by Michael Jordan below.


The preparation and play of Jordan was so through it allowed the other members of his championship team to play at heroic levels. It is a popular argument among basketball buffs that it was the stellar play of Scottie Pippin, Denis Rodman et al who made Jordan so great.

The point is clear. When your team is as prepared for the task at hand as you are, they will become the organization’s heroes. It is a nice debate to have, trying to come to the conclusion—was it the great boss or the great employees that made the difference. The point is you will all celebrate the successes.

Don’t Fail at Being Decisive

Michael Jordan scored over 32,290 points during his NBA career. He missed over 9000 shots. He did not become hesitant when faced with the decision to take the next shot.

I find too many in leadership positions terrified of making a decision. All to often, I have heard comments such as “…we need more information” or “…let’s table the decision for next time.” The issue is fear. The decision maker is on a quest for the perfect decision.

There is no such thing as the perfect decision. Get over it and be decisive. Failing to make a timely decision can be more devastating to an organization than making a bad decision. I would argue the only bad decision is one that was made on a whim. This is a discussion for another article. There is a methodology for decision making; if you do not have one call me.


Regardless of size of organization, from small family owned business to Fortune 500 publicly traded corporations learning from failure is the single greatest teacher that leads to great successes.

I challenge you to be the Michael Jordan of your organization, do not fail to—invest in yourself, create heroes in the workplace, and be decisive!