Turning Failures into Growth Opportunities

Amy Ferguson, Tax & Treasury Consultant at Rutherford Cross, discusses how growth opportunities can stem from failures, and why leaders should champion open and honest communication with their teams.

Something that has become increasingly important to me is making time for personal development activities. I enjoy listening to podcasts when commuting, and reading books in tandem with colleagues so we can discuss our thoughts and findings together. I recently watched a Ted Talk that discussed the growth opportunities that become available through failure, or when things don’t go exactly to plan, and it made me reflect on this area more widely.

People tend to shout about their successes, whereas failures are rarely discussed publicly.

For example, on a typical daily scroll through LinkedIn, there are countless posts sharing success stories and good news and very few posts that focus on failures. I do believe as a society, we are opening up to the idea of discussing failures and sharing our honest feelings, and I am hopeful this continues.

In the Ted Talk, the speaker described how they had actually had their best personal growth opportunities throughout their career when things hadn’t gone to plan. When things don’t work out, there is a tendency to feel that you are the only person in the world that this has happened to, which is very often not the case!



Research has shown that in business, sharing your failures can make for a positive impact. For example, when members of a team share their failures, collaboration becomes easier and the bonds in the team become stronger, which in turns leads to positive outputs.

Harvard Business Review has also reported research showing that teams with managers who allow failures to happen, whilst encouraging team members to be brave and speak up about potential ideas and solutions, actually benefit from improved innovation. Consistent and open communication is a key component of this.



In a business or work situation, we naturally want to put our best foot forward at all times, and it can be difficult to let your guard down and be vulnerable when something doesn’t go to plan. We are all potential sufferers of imposter syndrome, and it becomes even more likely to creep in when we fail.

In terms of incorporating this into the way I work, I find that setting a small number of daily goals means that I feel in control of what I’m doing. Separately, at the end of each week, I always reflect on three good things that have happened; reminding me to find the positives, even in stressful weeks or weeks that haven’t gone to plan.

There is a lot to be said for allowing yourself to fail and leaning into your failures. Learning to be open about your failures with your colleagues is what makes innovation possible. On top of this, it will improve your relationships with your team and create stronger bonds. Above all, the bravest part of learning from failure is leading by example.


Your successes and growth through failure are what help you realise your potential. At Rutherford Cross, we are here to help guide candidates through their career journeys, and support clients to hire the best talent. If you would like a confidential discussion about your career, or you are looking to hire into your team, please reach out to [email protected].