February 01, 2017
Home / You Learn More From Your Mistakes Than From Your Successes

“Failure hurts, but it often provides an invaluable learning opportunity” says John Sculley former CEO of Apple and Pepsi


John Sculley was vice-president (1970–1977) and president of Pepsi-Cola (1977–1983), until he became chief executive officer of Apple Inc. on April 8, 1983, a position he held until leaving in 1993. Sales at Apple increased from $800 million to $8 billion under Sculley's management; a man who, without doubt, knows a thing or two about business and the secret to phenomenal success.

That said he is also a man who has experienced well documented failures.


Steve Jobs, John Sculley and Steve Wozniak in 1984. Photograph: Sal Veder/AP


 No matter what age you are or what level you reach don’t stop learning”

John Sculley


Sculley gave the keynote speech at the 17th Brandon Hall Excellence Conference which took place in West Palm Beach, Florida this past week. During his speech Sculley shared insights into what he considered to be the essential attributes for success. Put succinctly: “taking risks can lead to great success - but can also lead to great failure”, however, in his own words “lessons learned from failure far outweigh lessons learned from success”

Placing this hypothesis within a business context, it is proven that we learn best from doing, making mistakes, adjusting and iterating. Most of our learning,  (70% of the 70/20/10 learning and development model) is accomplished on the job. For decades industries like aviation, military, healthcare, have known the answer to successful on the job learning lies in Simulation. Providing learners realistic environments where employees can have the space to fail safely and the space to learn from that failure.

“The key to achieve greatness lies in one's

ability to treat each mistake as a lesson,

rather than a crushing defeat,

and view failure not as a 'game over' sign,

but rather, as a tool on the journey

to even greater heights.” 

John Sculley


To paraphrase Sculley; “There has to be a culture of higher risk-taking. People need to learn how to fail fast, learn fast, and to always lean forward. People need to learn that it is okay to make mistakes and to learn from them.” (4 Top Lessons On Leadership from John Sculley) Simulations  are a  proven method for successfully allowing your employees to fail and learn from failure in immersive business relevant scenarios. Experiential learning using simulations at scale, empowers all learners to learn from mistakes, and empowered learners are the future of global organizations.

EmpowerTheUser partners with some of the world's most recognized companies and empowers them to unlock experiential learning and behavioral analytics through Simulations at scale.

If you would like to discover how Simulations promote a safe environment for learning from mistakes, then please get in touch and request a demo

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