S01Ep4 – Fail Early, Then Try Again

Paul Smith

Episode 4 is a show about resilience and perseverance. Our guest is Alison Rowe, CEO of the Moreland Energy Foundation and the inaugural Chairwoman of the Future Business Council, among other Executive and Non-Executive Board Directorships. Having started her working life in the Navy and finding herself driving warships at the age of 22, Alison brings a strategic approach to the organisations she is involved with.

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From an early age, Alison learned the benefits of failing fast, failing early, and most important, trying again. It takes time to build courage and resilience, but these are vital characteristics of an effective CEO and Director. You need to be willing to try innovative things and be willing to failing in order to achieve something great.

We get into a wide range of topics, including…

  • Techniques for building and developing resilience and accepting failure
  • Unintentionally becoming a non-conformist
  • Having trusted advisors outside of the boardroom that you can reflect with and get any feedback you need
  • Having courage and making decisions when you don’t have all of the information
  • Being comfortable with the fact that you will never have 99.9% of the inputs, and how you can harness your skills and experience to still achieve the desired outcomes
  • Developing a ‘Risk Appetite Statement’ to allow you to walk the tightrope between managing risk appropriately but maintaining innovation and entrepreneurialism
  • Having multiple pathways and a complex web of stakeholders through which you can influence outcomes, so that you don’t have any single point of failure
  • Having an appropriate Decision Making approach so boards members feel empowered
  • The different size boards required for different stages of growth in startups
    And much more!

Actions you can take:

  1. Look after yourself and try to build in a proper work-life balance as best as you can. Also, do things you enjoy and make the work environment fun. 
  2. Recognise that it’s natural to have regular confidence blows and think “I could’ve done something better”. But, as leaders we have to make decisions and we have to back ourselves. Realise that if it turns out to be the wrong decision, that’s OK. You need to accept the fact that you’ll very rarely have 99.9% of the information in order to make a decision, so you have to trust your experiences and your resources to make decisions. No one is perfect. 
  3. Think about getting a good coach. An external coach is someone you can reflect with and talk to outside of your circle that can give you the feedback that you need.

Find Alison:

Moreland Energy Foundation
The Future Business Council
Climate Alliance