In life you will fail

Aug 29 2012 09:17

BEING able to contribute towards the greater good has taught me great humility.

Other than working in the corporate business world, I've worked with destitute and vulnerable children across South Africa - our future - who only want a chance at a better life.

This experience has moulded me into the person I am today and motivates me to help where I can by raising awareness for a cause: mentoring future entrepreneurs by imparting business skills or philanthropic work. 

At the end of the day, we are one community and each person brings a different piece of the puzzle, gift or talent to the table to create the full picture.

The greatest lesson I learnt from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellowship, of which I am a member, is to be analytical about the past and emotional about the future.

If your emotion gets stuck in your failures, you cannot move forward. In life you will fail many times, but it is how you learn and move forward that counts.

This lesson can be applied to many scenarios in life, but especially in business. At the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, this is something I tell our entrepreneurs all the time.

"Yes, you may have failed, but it is how you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again that determines how you learn to move forward."

Even as a leader at the Branson Centre I am constantly learning.

My leadership style is based on the ubuntu principles; I am because you are. I am passionate about building teams of people who have a quality that I don't.

I encourage a strong team bond where we support each other in moments of high stress - in business there are many!

I run a pretty flat structure and believe if there is a strong team who have clear goals, are trusting and committed, each one can then take ownership.

I constantly get stuck in the detail and have to pull away to carry the whole vision forward. I am a natural visionary, but believe you can only speak about vision authentically if you are intimately involved in the cause you serve and lead from the trenches. 

Hence I love engaging with the entrepreneurs at the centre one-on-one, finding out what each one wrestles with so at any given point am aware of the difficulties, realities and challenges they face.

I also encourage staff to live their authentic selves; I could think of nothing worse than creating an environment where people check their personalities out at the door. 

The individuality and uniqueness of each staff member is what makes the Branson Centre what it is today.

 - Fin24

* Tracey Lynn Webster is CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and Virgin Unite Africa, co-founder of Starfish Greathearts Foundation and a Tutu Fellow. She is the latest guest columnist taking part in Fin24's Women's Month campaign celebrating women in business.

Fin24 welcomes your participation in the campaign. Send your views to editor@fin24.com and you could get published.

Previous women's month columns:

Seducer or slavemaster - Jacqueline Allschwang, inspirational and transformational NLP coach and facilitator and owns Inspire Transformations

Knowledge is power
- Mimi Viviers, key accounts executive at Connection Telecom

Sweet and simple - Sandy Wilde, head of Sanlam icover

Does money matter
- Jessica Pryce-Jones, CEO of the iOpener Institute for People and Performance

Starting from scratch
- Karen Short, founder and chairperson of By Word of Mouth

It's all in alignment - Anli Kotzé, general manager at Ladbrokes.co.za

Make it a team effort - Lulu Letlape, executive head of group corporate affairs at Sanlam

Life isn't like the movies - Judith Middleton, founder and CEO of DUO Marketing + Communications

Ramp up your fun factor - Marteen Michau, head of fiduciary and tax at Sanlam Private Investments

Map your delivery plan - Jackie Carroll, managing director for Media Works

Fine balancing act - Managing director of MUA Insurance Acceptances

Small victories are sweet
- CEO of Save the Children South Africa

Head in the clouds - Marketing manager at kulula.com

The sky's the limit - Tsidi Luse, quality control manager at Lafarge's Lichtenburg plant

In the driving seat - Dawn Nathan-Jones, CEO, Europcar

Get your hands dirty - Sandra Burmeister, CEO of the Landelahni Recruitment Group

Manage like a woman - Wahida Parker, director of Equillore

Four tips for working moms - Glynnis Jeffries, head: business development at Futuregrowth

Women a force for change - Amelia Jones, CEO of Community Chest

Don't be an ice queen - Nicole Fannin, financial consultant at deVere Group


* Follow Fin24 on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

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