What Distinguishes a Successful Executive?

A Group of MBA Students are Dining with a Retired Celebrity CEO.

    One asks him, “What distinguishes a successful executive?”
    The CEO ponders the question for 10 seconds and answers, “Two words: Good decisions.”
    The student isn’t satisfied and says, “But what does it take to make good decisions?”
    The CEO furrows his brow and 20 seconds later replies, “One word: Experience.
    The student is exasperated at this point and blurts out, “Okay, but what’s it take to get experience?”
    The CEO frowns and thinks for 30 excruciating seconds. Finally, he replies, “Two words: Bad decisions.”

… But here’s a thought: Maybe failure is really interesting to explore only after success has been achieved. Looking back on a successful life, or doing a post-mortem on an endeavor that ended well, incremental failures add texture and nuance to a winning story. But if you’re still not on top of the mountain, maybe it’s best to figure out what you’re really good at, then focus like a laser beam on creating a success you can call your own.

~ Why Learning From Mistakes Is Overrated By Stephen J. Meyer, Forbes