Randy Cain is the President and CEO of Pinty’s Delicious Foods, a prominent Canadian poultry company. Over lunch yesterday (yes it was chicken) we talked about his understanding of leadership as someone who has been involved in turnarounds in the corporate sector for several years. One of the intriguing things he said was that when selecting leaders one of the criteria he considers crucial is a history of failure. Only those who have faced some significant setback (professional or personal) have the kind of humility required to lead effectively at Pinty’s. Interesting to hear that from a successful CEO in a competitive market where the bottom line is the bottom line. We talked about the importance of character and how many of the most effective corporate leaders are never recognized because they model humility and compassion rather than self-promotion. They don’t write books, but they are core to the success of their organizations. In Christian circles a lot of lipservice is paid to servant leadership and to humility as a key to character; but I’m not convinced that there is any correlation between church context and a greater development of these things. I agree with Randy, failure is fundamental. Or perhaps more accurately, responding to failure is crucial both to develop and to reveal the kind of character that allows a leader to submit to themself to the vision at hand and to honour those with and for whom they work. Not what I was expecting from a hard nosed business guy.