Successful companies mess up too

When we look at successful companies, it is tempting to think that they are flawless in every way whereas the truth is that these companies often worked long and hard to get to that point.  Seth Godin suggests we see these companies as they are, warts and all:

Businesses are the same way. If you read enough stories, it’s easy to believe that Starbucks and Apple and the rest of the all-star list somehow manage to effortlessly create remarkable products and happy customers.

One thread that has become clear to me from reading my email is that there are no perfect companies, no ideal places to work, no marketers who always manage to please their customers.

An important fact is that it takes a lot of effort to make an enduring success of a company and plenty mistakes are made in the process.  Often companies that really seem to have the perfect formula came up with that formula through a process of trial and error and the key thing is not to suppress that process but rather to encourage constructive versions of it (there is no point constantly failing and never learning from that process).

Edgar Bronfman Jr, the CEO of Warner Music Group, was interviewed by Paul Sloan about some of his hits and misses.  When asked about the importance of mistakes, Bronfman said it was not just a good idea, it is necessary for successful growth and innovation in any business.  So don’t be afraid of making mistakes, just make them count.

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