Successful Failures

Well, despite my worst fears, England emerge from the group stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup at the top of their pool, following an admittedly nail bitingly close win against Samoa in Lille this weekend.

For those of us who were able to witness the victory live (myself included), given how much we enjoyed Lille, it made the trip worthwhile. 4 wins out of 4 in the pool stages is not what I expected given the results of the England team before they landed in France. Out of failure, success can arise, despite Owen Farrell forgetting the shot clock, he overtook Jonny Wilkinson’s title as England’s all-time leading points scorer in international rugby. Despite the defensive issues faced in the first half, came a second half that delivered success helped by George Ford and Danny Care. And the result, a win that has put England in a better draw for the quarter-finals.

While the atmosphere in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy didn’t exactly feel jubilant as we departed, there was a sense that there is work to be done; a lucky escape that Borthwick and his men have earned a quarterfinal match which England should win. A semi-final beckons… and…? No, not even I am that deluded. Nevertheless, England have enjoyed success out of failures to date which they can build on in this tournament and the future.

We could therefore consider ‘successful failure’ can arises in all sorts of environments. Penicillin – Sir Alexander Fleming’s forgotten petri dish of mould; Cornflakes – a botched attempt at making granola by the Kellog brothers.

An unexpected success must be seized upon and utilised beneficially. I do wonder on occasion what positive opportunities can arise in our professional lives when we think we might have failed or there is a sense of a failure around us.. Out of failure can come opportunities if we are alert to them. Failure makes us take stock and look to alternative options/applications to ensure that the next step is more deliberate, planned and will consequently generate positive outcomes – true both in professional and personal lives that are so closely interwoven.

We here at ABPM are committed to being on hand to try and support you (even if it is from a perceived position of failure!) in both your career and leadership role. Contact us today to find out how.


by Rej