The Relationship Between Success And Failure

Leaders are fascinated with the subjects of success and failure.  Why do some people, teams, or organizations succeed while others fail?  What are the keys to success?  How do you mobilize teams to accomplish tasks?  Etc…

The last two posts I wrote were about top leaders in their field, head football coach Mack Brown of Texas and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church.  To read those posts, simply click on their names.  Hybels is currently leading a prevailing organization while Brown’s is struggling.  It is fascinating to notice the difference in how they view current leadership issues:


  • He (my dad) really believed in me.  He thought there was no end to what I could accomplish in my life.” – Hybels
  • “I can’t trust you unless you help me.” – Brown


  • There’s nothing like the local church when the local church is working right.” – Hybels
  • “What went wrong?” asks ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.  “How long you got?” – Brown


  • “If you look at important initiatives that have happened at Willow, the vast majority bubbled up from the congregation.” – Hybels
  • “You can’t trust your players.  You can’t trust your coaches.” – Brown


  • Imagine the day when every hungry person within a 30-minute drive from our church knew there was one place they knew they could count on to put food on their table.”
  • “People want to hang somebody.  They want somebody fired.  They want somebody put out on the street without clothes so we can embarrass and be rude to them.”


  • “The whole idea that God gives all the great ideas through the senior pastor is absurd to me.” – Hybels
  • I’m the only one who can figure out the answers.” – Brown

Team Building

  • “One of the greatest thrills in all of life is to feel the hand of God working through you and to be a part of the working reality of the church engaged in a movement larger than self.” – Hybels
  • Mack Brown may have lost his team which is worse than losing games.” – Lee Corso

Which leader would you rather serve under?  Now before you answer, let me say I don’t think the answer is that simple.

Mack Brown is a great leader.  He has won one national championship and played in the title game last year losing to Alabama.  Do you think his approach to leadership was different during winning times?  Do you think Hybels answers would be different if his church was not reaching its full redemptive potential?  Yes!!!

That’s the difference between success and failure for a leader.  Here are additional differences.

  1. Success has momentum.  Failure has obstacles.
  2. Success increases morale.  Failure hurts morale.
  3. Success enhances teamwork.  Failure breeds selfishness.
  4. Success finds opportunities.  Failure limits options.
  5. Success attracts people and resources.  Failure has limited resources.
  6. Success validates leadership.  Failure results in changes in leadership
  7. Success is not necessarily permanent.  Failure is not necessarily permanent.

What’s your thoughts on the subjects of success and failure?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

3 Responses to “The Relationship Between Success And Failure”

  1. LaurianaZ RT @BrianKDodd: The Relationship Between #Success And Failure: #leadership #teamwork

  2. This, and your site, is amazing. I just got into coaching baseball and soccer and quicky noticed that some little things were missing with the kids…encouragement, leadership, faith, trust, etc. I have yet to meet many people that think that you can get kids of average talent to play at their maiximum level. To me, that’s more of an indictment of the coaching than the kids.


  1. Tweets that mention The Relationship Between Success And Failure « Brian Dodd On Leadership -- - 11/20/2010

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