Don’t Be Wile E. Coyote

Wile E as a Leader

“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

We’re all familiar with the classic Looney Tunes cartoon with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. The entire premise of the show is the coyote’s endless pursuit of catching the road runner. As you probably remember, the coyote never catches the roadrunner – why? He constantly makes the same mistakes over and over, never adapting to the abilities of his competition (the roadrunner) or recognizing how foolish his plans are.

The point of the cartoon is to play up the silly, slapstick plans that the coyote comes up with – but, that too can be an example of a leader’s inability to accept past failures by continuing to cover them up with foolish, ineffective plans.

How much like Wile E. Coyote are you? What mistakes are you making as the entrepreneurial CEO of your organization? Are you learning from your mistakes? Or, do you feel doomed to repeat them again and again? More importantly, do you feel you’re taking the right steps to avoid making mistakes in the first place?

The truth is, we all make mistakes but we must learn from them, and move on. Think about parenting for a minute. Whether you’re a parent yourself or not, you know it’s a job where many mistakes are made. The thing is, making some mistakes repeatedly will risk a child’s future or life. Instead, it takes humility and commitment to turn those mistakes around and ensure they don’t happen again.

In the business world you need to continually improve. Each of us has to work to “up our game,” because standing still means falling behind. Learning from our mistakes and new ways of doing things isn’t always easy for entrepreneurs like us – it can mean hearing things we don’t want to hear regarding our methods and strategies. But, the willingness to put one’s self in that kind of exposed, vulnerable position is what separates mere entrepreneurs from Qualified Entrepreneurs. Embrace change and improvement.
And just remember, Wile E. Coyote was never successful.