February 24, 2022
Scott Selover, Senior Director - Recruiting at Blend360
Almost everything that I know about doing my job, I did wrong the first time that I did it. Considering that I have over 20 years of experience, that’s a lot of mistakes. However, learning through failure has helped me grow professionally and can now help others avoid the same mistakes! I lead Blend360’s recruiting practice in our Denver office and in that position of leadership, I spend a good amount of my time telling my team about my screwups. Recounting tales of failure may not sound like fun, but that valuable experience can be used to help my team skip that painful step and jump right to success, while also reminding myself that I overcame those failures and success waited for me on the other side.
The simple fact is that very few of us are naturals at what we choose to do for our careers. Vinita Bansal points out that leadership is not about being an all knowing genius, but about constantly operating in a learning mode for the benefit of yourself and the benefit of your team. We are all going to face challenges in our roles and make mistakes along the way. How we face those challenges can lead to leadership opportunities through growth as we overcome and learn from those challenges. More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to pass along that knowledge which inevitably helps to ensure that prior mistakes aren’t repeated, while preparing for new challenges to present themselves in the future.
This all sounds great in theory, but I’ve found that there are some great examples of growth leaders out there who have achieved success through failure. Lisa Ower points out that people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos possessed the growth mindset of learning from mistakes, getting better each time a challenge presents itself and never being satisfied with the results. These three individuals each ran businesses that went bankrupt or near bankrupt and turned them into trillion-dollar companies and billions of dollars in personal wealth - all through learning and leading through growth.
It's also important to remember that the path to growth leadership doesn’t just come from those who blazed a path before you. It’s critically important for a growth leader to “cultivate other people’s growth muscles” by encouraging a growth mindset by giving people room for their own growth experiences as they attack and overcome challenges. In a business setting, growth leaders who give other people the capacity to make decisions accomplish two things. It allows people to cultivate their own personal growth and future ability to lead, while also driving the decision-making process closer to customers. This allows the people that know the customer best to use the most relevant information to make the best possible decision.
So how do you develop these leadership skills and demonstrate growth as a consultant? If you are an experienced consultant, you possess unique skills and experience that fill a specific gap for a client, and you’ve achieved success as you’ve undoubtedly faced challenges and overcome them to grow as an individual. As a Blend360 consultant you now have the opportunity to pass that knowledge onto our client’s organization by leading a critical project, team or process. Your experience at another company or in another industry can help the client accelerate their most critical initiatives in a meaningful way. If you are early in your career, you’ve been identified as someone with potential to accomplish the task in front of you. Leverage this as an opportunity to take the knowledge passed down to you by others and learn from your mistakes and challenges for your own personal growth. Whether you are an experienced consultant or just starting out, each assignment and project is an opportunity to gain more knowledge today to build your ability to lead by growth in the future.