FAST COMPANY: How do you handle mistakes?
GARY BURNISON: How do you handle mistakes? Johnny Wooden had this great quote, and that is that "success is never final, failure is never fatal" and that's true for a leader. You will make mistakes. Like a great baseball player, you're not going to hit every time you go up to the plate. So the key is not what you do at the moment of failure, but what you do after failure. And learning, learning not only from success, but from failure.
How do you handle mistakes?
Gary D. Burnison is Chief Executive Officer of Korn/Ferry International, the worldwide leader in executive recruitment and a premier provider of talent management solutions, assisting global organizations to achieve extraordinary outcomes through talent. Korn/Ferry employs more than 2,500 people in 40 countries. He is also a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors.
Under his strategy, Mr. Burnison spearheads the Firm’s transformation as a diversified human capital organization. He brings hands-on experience to his current position, having served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Korn/Ferry from 2003-2007. Mr. Burnison joined Korn/Ferry as Chief Financial Officer in 2002.
Prior to Korn/Ferry, he was principal and chief financial officer of Guidance Solutions, a privately held consulting firm developing and supporting technology solutions, from 1999 to 2001.
Before Guidance Solutions, Mr. Burnison served as a senior executive officer and director of Jefferies & Company, Inc., the principal operating subsidiary of Jeffries Group, Inc., where he worked from 1995 to 1999. Earlier, he served as partner at KPMG Peat Marwick from 1984 to 1995.
In 2011, Mr. Burnison published The New York Times bestseller, No Fear of Failure: Real Stories of How Leaders Deal with Risk and Change – a book offering insightful conversations with some of the world’s top leaders in business, politics, education, and philanthropy. He is also a regular contributor to CNBC, CNN, Fox Business and other international news outlets.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.