Poets & Quants asked top business school deans, “What was your favorite mistake in your career?” The question solicited thoughtful answers from the deans of Wharton, Kellogg, Emory, and others including Olin’s Mark Taylor.
“I can think of instances, especially early in my career, where I was too emotionally attached to a pet project to admit that it was not performing according to expectations and that I needed to cut bait. The time, effort and imagination that goes in into launching something can easily cloud one’s judgment into thinking, “It can’t possibly fail and turnaround and success are just around the corner.” After this happened a couple of times – and I saw that prevarication only made matters worse – I realised that having projects fail is a normal element of business. In fact, if some projects don’t occasionally fail, it means that, as a leader, you are not taking enough controlled risks. The skill is in having more projects succeed than fail.”
– Mark P. Taylor