At last month’s CREW Network convention in Dallas, we collected as many tidbits of wisdom as we did business cards. Bruce A. Kellogg, BBG’s Executive Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives, said this year’s information was “unparalleled, especially from keynoters who provided their insights on achieving success in spite of challenges.” This is the first of his three-part series on lessons learned from the leaders in attendance.
Barbara Corcoran: Get Great at Failure
Self-described “real estate mogul and business expert” Barbara Corcoran didn’t start out that way. In fact, her website lists as credentials “straight D’s in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three.” Known today for her successful real estate firm The Corcoran Group and her involvement on ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank, Corcoran talked about growing up with nine siblings plus a dad who was more childlike than parental.
She talked about having nowhere to go but up, based on her upbringing in New Jersey. But her upward climb had its share of setbacks. To get where she is today, Corcoran took the kind of risks that ensure the occasional spectacular failure, learning along the way that mistakes are learning opportunities that give rise to the greatest successes.
Corcoran neither downplays her mistakes nor glosses over her shortcomings. To assemble a winning team, she cataloged her own weaknesses and blind spots, and then integrated complementary personalities and skillsets (referred to as “Expanders and Containers”).
Corcoran’s advice spanned several other topics, including how to fire employees (“Shoot the Dogs Early”) and “fun is good for business.”