Seth godin:after youve done your best is a great short post about learning from failure.
"Learning from a failure is critical. Connecting effort with failure at an emotional level is crippling. After all, we've already agreed you did your best."
I think running a business is a little like trying to manage the relationship between Faith and the Science
Each seeks the truth in a different way (we can think of Truth of a viable business model where "We are a going concern" is the acid test).
Faith in God is usually based on our assumption that there must be an answer. To think anything else of this wonderful little planet and our experiences feels horribly nihilist...
In the same sense a Business Leader must be a believer that in some way his or her company, has value. (S)he must hold fast to this even in the throes of the Startup Roller Coaster : Mark Suster when it can feel that there is room for doubt as you feel the stomach lurching abyss open up yet again.
This faith starts with an assumption of about what our business must look like - The business vision (in our metaphor this is of a loving, infinite omnipresent eternal creator God). These are Axioms Axiom (Wiki) that cannot be dis-proven - which is what makes faith inherently non-scientific but simultaneously as reasonable as any alternative. A business-person is thus a "faith leader" that time may disprove (the runway).
Science starts with a similar premise or Axiom (That there must be a single factual truth of events, causes and effects that exists if it can be uncovered). It proceeds by way of Occam's Razor paring away at the falsehoods by experimentation, and assuming what is apparent and sufficient to explain experiments is true until dis-proven (these are hypotheses - they become Laws at IPO but can still fail)
Searching for the truth in these two ways should converge - (like carving a statue - A sculptur works long and hard before people will put it in the Louvre ). The little experiments gradually erode what is not useful or not valid until a core truth (the Minimum_viable_product) is exposed. If the experiments show that the axiomatic business plan does not work the founder must pivot (change belief). There is nothing wrong with this.
A business leader MUST be flexible enough to change anything (even his most cherished beliefs) when the best is not good enough.
The same is true of a faith leader - If you can disprove something that is necessary for a faith, the faith must bow or it will break.
There is a perfect purpose to existence and my running an imperfect but continually improving business hopes to serve that purpose. I rejoice in all the entrepreneurs who work so hard and risk everything to show that their vision of a business is true - and only experimentation can ever show them wrong.
I also rejoice in my existence on this planet - and must believe that there is a reason Logos for it - The wonderful thing is nobody can prove this wrong (though I must learn to be better) and I think that was the major point of Seths brilliant post ...
"Successful people analytically figure out what didn't work and redefine what their best work will be in the future. And then they get back to work."
Must get back to work - speak later :)