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How Ego Gets in the Way of Learning From Failure

Philip Green
Former CFO at Deliveroo & Finance Director, EMEA, Amazon

Learning outcomes

  • How ego gets in the way of our ability to learn from failure
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Executive Bio

Philip Green

Former CFO at Deliveroo & Finance Director, EMEA, Amazon

Philip Green spent almost eight years at Amazon, culminating with the role of Finance Director of EU operations. He then took on the role of CFO at Groupon, followed by the role of CFO of Deliveroo. He currently is Director and CFO of theatre and entertainment producer Jamie Hendry Productions, as well as CFO of robotics and AR gaming business Reach Robotics, and advisor to several high-tech digital start-ups.Read more

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Interview Transcript

What separates leaders who can learn from failure versus those that don’t?

In the end, it comes down to ego. Unfortunately, ego is the thing that gets in the way. You can have belief in your abilities, that confidence — that’s great, you need that. You can’t be a leader and doubt yourself; people will see that. But when you go too far, there’s just the ego, which might be based on successful results but not necessarily successful inputs. Sometimes you get the right result, but it’s nothing you did; it’s circumstantial. When you’re not reflecting on the successes, you’re also not likely to reflect on the failures. It comes down to that ego, where you believe you’re on this different plane and everything’s going to be great because you’re there. That’s not great leadership over the long term. Short term, you can have those purely charismatic leaders, but they don’t build long-term success. By that, I mean you can get maybe three, five years in, but ten, fifteen, twenty years — that’s where that type of leadership will struggle.

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