frosted roseA couple of things happened yesterday to remind me that, when it comes to business, failure is seldom fatal.

First, I read Luke Johnson’s article in the FT, which argued that setbacks and failures were the crucibles in which great business leaders are forged. Far from being the death of executive careers, Johnson argues that they can, with resilience and commitment, be their launch pad.

Second, and far more memorably, I had a phone conversation with the ex-boss who made me redundant over three years ago.

During the course of our conversation, we discussed the possibility of me helping this manager’s team develop a new, more radical growth strategy.

We may or may not end up working together (although I would be more than happy to help). The big lesson for me from this, however, is that our reputations and careers are not written in stone, but are more like a garden.

With careful nurturing and pruning, gardens bloom and prosper and are more than able to withstand periodic frosts, dry spells and floods. Healthy growth will soon reappear.

Our careers are similar. The odd setback may hurt our ego, and possibly our wallet, but the experience from failure can be invaluable.

And careers, like gardens, which are immaculately groomed are, well, a bit boring aren’t they?

© Stuart Cross 2009. All rights reserved.