Looking at Wendy Wu, of the iconic Wendy Wu Tours, you’d never believe failure had anything to do with her raging success.
But, as is the case with most prolific pioneers, failure teaches us some incredible lessons.
Yesterday, Carnival’s Aussie Vice President, Jennifer Vanderkreeke, told us that you learn more from failure than you do success.
And in keeping with this theme, upcoming Travel DAZE speaker, Wendy Wu, has some similar – and very valuable – insights.
So just what has Wendy Wu learnt from failure?
Her number one tip to TW is “never be complacent”.
“There was a time in my career when, having built the number 1 China operator in 2 different countries, I thought it would be very easy to replicate this high level of success very easily in another region of the world.
“So I went to new markets, but without my heart and mind focussed wholly on this expansion.
“I didn’t concentrate on building my team from the ground up, and giving them the direction required to start and sustain the growth that I envisioned.
“I needed to look at the setup of the new office on it’s own merit and not try to copy the format of the other markets, expecting it to work in the same way.
“Although the numbers quickly indicated that the success I was looking for wasn’t forthcoming, I needed to take a step back from the new market with fresh eyes.
“But for a time, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my eyes – every other market was doing so well, I couldn’t accept the failure right in front of me. I was blinded to the overall global success.
“I had to start that office again from the grassroots, wipe the slate clean – but I was so tired, and had been directing energy in the wrong places. I had been applying my focus to other areas, and not where my insights were really required.
“I became complacent in my expectation that the new office would just function in the same way that the already established, and successful offices had.
“At Travel DAZE I’ll tell you how I turned this around and brought myself back from complacency.”
But back to Wu’s second big lesson.
“Never underestimate the effort required.”
Wu told TW, “When I started the process of transforming WWT from a traditional, manual and offline business to modern, automated and digital business, I thought it was going to be very easy for us.
“Firstly, like many traditional businesses, when we built an information-based website, we thought it meant that we were done, we were in the world of online business.
“Once I realised that it was not the case, my team and I then tried to build a system behind it. Once again, I thought it was going to be easy, so we started to invest little by little – but I didn’t see much progress.
“I then invested more – but this time it was in the wrong areas. The more I looked, the more I saw what was lacking – and I thought “Gosh so many other areas are still missing.”
“In retrospect, had I seen this at the get-go, I would have saved so much time, very valuable time, especially in this fast changing environment that we are in.
“We are still in the early stages of this exciting journey of digital transformation. One great improvement is that we are now fully aware of the challenges. There is an old saying from Socrates “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing and that is that I know nothing”
“At Travel DAZE I’ll fully updated you our rewarding journey, so if you are on the same path, hopefully that my failures will save you some time and money.”
Stay tuned for more lessons on failure from our Travel DAZE speakers, and catch all the latest on the exciting event here.