Instant MBA: Don't Hire People Who Are Afraid To Fail

Lily Kanter

Photo: Serena & Lily Retail/ Youtube

Today’s advice comes from Lily Kanter, cofounder and CEO of Serena & Lily, via The New York Times:

“One of the biggest ones I’ve learned, from working at Microsoft, was that failure is O.K. because of the lessons you learn. I think it’s O.K. for people to swing hard for the fences as long as there’s brutal honesty and no cover-up. I encourage it among my employees — to test things, to try things, but to not make the same mistakes twice. I don’t like cover-up.”

Kanter says everyone makes mistakes and we should all learn from them. The best workers are those who are willing to learn and are not afraid to stumble in the process. Some employees think it’s better to stay in the shadows and avoid problems at all cost, but Kanter says she would rather hire someone who isn’t afraid to fail. A fearless worker is also a motivated worker because they always look on the bright side even in the worst situations. The key, Kanter says, is to only hire people who are willing to turn a negative into a positive.

“I’m looking for a can-do attitude. We’re growing fast, things change, and they don’t exactly happen the way they’re supposed to every single day. It’s about adaptability. It’s about being happy. It’s about finding people who are happy and bringing them into your culture. I think that’s very important…I think we’re at this evolutionary time in business where it’s all about people. We have to embrace that and embrace people’s purpose and their souls to be successful in business. Because if they’re just coming to work to be a body and they’re on a treadmill all day, then you won’t have a happy culture if you don’t tap into what is really meaningful for them in life. So I’m very focused on that.”

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