Nobody is immune to making mistakes. The difference lies in how you handle those mistakes you make, and what you learn from them.
I recently sat down with Suresh Sambandam, CEO of Kissflow, to understand what he thought of this, and how he perceived the relationship between risk-taking, mistakes, and success. Here’s an excerpt from the chat we had:
In retrospect, what is the mistake (or hardest lesson) you learned the most from? How did it help you later on?
When we founded our company Kissflow, we created software we believed was unique but was difficult for people to comprehend at that point in time. We tried creating a category (DIY enterprise app on the cloud) instead of just a product. We hadn’t realized that it’s easy for a large player to create a new category, but not for a startup.
When we launched Kissflow later on, we called it a workflow management software and eventually became a market leader in the do-it-yourself, low-code platform & workflow management software space.
Business leaders often talk about failing fast. Has it been your experience that mistakes are necessary for ultimately finding success?
Persistence, staying the course, and following the vision, has always been what has kept me going. Most often, people end up misunderstanding the fail-fast phenomena. It is a tactical approach than a directional approach. For example, building a company that empowers business users to create their own apps & workflows was my vision and I took this strategic path. I believe when you have a clear vision of what you wanted to do, you won’t fail fast. Things are hard to achieve in the real world scenario as it takes lots of effort, energy, and time. However, along the journey, you can experiment with new techniques and see how they perform for your business. If it’s not working, declare it and try something else.
How do mistakes relate to risk-taking and success?
First, let’s understand what is risk-taking. Basically, risk-taking is deciding on a path without having all the necessary data on hand. When you know the path you’re going to travel, you can predict things along the way. When you don’t have a clear plan, how much ever you try from reaching point A to B, you’ll eventually fail because it’s an untravelled path and prediction is less effective. Inherently, when you take risks you’ll end up making mistakes. Since it’s all about risk-taking, you might also want to play the high risk — high reward game where the probability of failure is high and success is low. But if you succeed, you’ll probably succeed big time and that’s the relationship between risk-taking, mistakes, and success.