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Swimming upstream Featured

2:43pm EDT March 1, 2011
Alan Schultz, president and CEO, Valassis Communications Inc. Alan Schultz, president and CEO, Valassis Communications Inc.

You can’t be afraid to fail. But there are still steps you can take to guard against unnecessary failure, even in the rough economic environment of the past two years.

If you can take the lessons you’ve learned from your missteps, and the often-harsh lessons the recession has taught you, and use them to become a better risk taker, you can emerge from adversity in better shape than many other companies.

With the Detroit area serving as one of the epicenters of the nation’s economic strife, the business leaders throughout the community have learned many such lessons and have shared a lot of them with Smart Business Detroit over the past several years. Here is what three of our previous cover story subjects had to say about dealing with adversity in the world of business.

“Failure becomes like scar tissue. Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue, and people who step out, take risks and fail develop scar tissue. That makes them better and stronger the next time. What you can’t do is view it as, ‘They failed, they’re a bad person, they have no place with us.'”

Alan Schultz,

president and CEO,

Valassis Communications Inc.

"Staying aggressive in an economy like this helps keep a team unified. People like to be a part of a winning team, and if you try to rally your team around aggressive but realistic goals, it’s amazing what you can accomplish, even in a bad economy."

John McDonald,

president and COO,

Service Brands International LLC

"Whether it’s managing your personal affairs or leading an organization, you should never get lulled into a feeling that because times are good, they’re always going to be that way. You have to discipline yourself for the down cycle and gear your spending and decision-making around the idea that it’s going to come. When it does, you’ll be fine because you’ve prepared for it."

David Brandon.

former chairman and CEO,

Domino’s Pizza Inc.