Leaders Learnings From Failures

by | May 17, 2023

If you are not pushing are you really progressing!


It is not a word you will hear around many elite sports teams, failure nor is it a word elite business leaders use. We strive to win and be better than our competition. Business is no different to sport, profit ensures longevity of an organisation without it the business will close. 

Leaders are tasked with climbing Mount Everest every day. Right now there is no prizes for second best, expectations are high and the spotlight is well and truly shining bright on results. 

Leadership is about not about quitting.

In my coaching work I do with CEOs many speak of failure and how during their careers failure has shaped them more than winning. 

Teams are measured on various KPIs and leaders look at ensuring their people are not only engaged but laser focused in on the vision of it’s organisation. Successful leaders know the deep sense of pain when things don’t go to plan. No more so than the CEO of today. It’s more than reputation, more than just collecting the pay check to those successful CEO who I coach it’s about winning. They are looking at ways to win the war on talent, they are looking at ways to win the customer and ensure that experience is the very best., CEOs are not settling for second best nor are they happy losing. I’d say 90% of clients who engage with me here at Nick Roud Coaching are driven, they have all had their own struggles and set backs but fundamentally their is an innate drive not to fail. I recall speaking with a sports team here in NZ and I asked one of the key leaders, so what if you lose? 

Keep pushing yourself forwards!

The silence felt like a life time, the room changed from positive up beat to folded arms, deadly stars and a few words that I don’t want to share in their leadership blog. The response was we are not here to fail we are here to win and win we will. 

When I am interviewing my CEOs I ask them what does failure look like to you. The response is one different to that sports team. They are already ‘thinking’ about failure, the what if’s the unknown, some lack that grit and determination to be ever so successful, they are waiting to fail. 

To me this is not a healthy place to play in, whilst I coach successful CEOs, senior executives and emerging leaders I must ensure the chemistry / fit between us is best for both parties. I am seeking out those who really want to be the very best leader that they can be, I am looking for those who have faced hurdles and worked through the pain. The leaders who will put the extra effort in when no one else is watching, the leaders who have vision. They are not afraid to try things, sure they might be scared/nervous but they are the type of leaders who will do what they say they will do. 

Failure is vitally important to anyone’s success. Failure shapes our thoughts, our behaviours and our future approach. A CEO who isn’t afraid to fail might wish to look for another career. Boards, shareholders and employees want to be led by leaders who are curious! When a CEO fails it’s a good thing, its development, its learning and its part of growing into a great CEO. The leader of today is not a quitter, he/she keeps pushing themselves and their people forwards.

When was the last time you failed? If you answer never then maybe you are not trying hard enough!

Nick Roud is an award winning executive leadership coach. He coaches successful CEOs and a trusted sounding board to many global executives. More information on Nick’s 1:1 CEO coaching work can be found here.


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him nick@roudcareers.co.nz

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630