Leaders today spend a lot of time working to understand and learn from failure.
We talk a great deal about learning from our mistakes and come to some familiar conclusions. We often learn the most from our failures. Failures are not final or fatal. When you fail, that’s how you learn. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
I agree. We can learn great lessons from failure. But I wonder if sometimes we put so much emphasis on failure that we forget to study success.
Sometimes, we put so much emphasis on failure that we forget to study success. @KevinPaulScott
Have you ever done something well, but when asked how you were successful, you didn’t know?
If you don’t know why something is going well when it’s going well, you won’t know how to fix it if it breaks.
In our organization, our failures have been great catalysts to help us learn and grow. We look for things that are broken and try improve areas of weakness. Recently, however, we’ve started working to pinpoint and learn from the things we’re doing well.
Every year, we survey and analyze our customer satisfaction. In one program in particular, we had experienced a drop in satisfaction from 2015 to 2016. Our team identified problems, created a plan, and made conscious decisions to get better. As a result, in 2017, the satisfaction of our customers increased by 20%!
It was a great accomplishment to recover from the deficit and improve even more. Of those customers surveyed this year, 90% were either satisfied or very satisfied with our work. But, it was not enough to know that we improved; we needed to figure out exactly why we improved.
Instead of moving on to another area, our team spent time and energy studying what specifically led to this increase in satisfaction. We understand that if we can clearly identify which decisions, actions, and behaviors are driving positive results, then we have a greater chance to replicate them in the future or course-correct if things go wrong.
In what areas of your life, personally and professionally, can you study and replicate success?
How did you attract the individuals who are now your most valuable team members and employees?
What kinds of environments foster intentional family discussion?
What did you do differently that helped you make the sale with the stubborn client?
How did you motivate your volunteers to stay late and pack more meals for your community?
How do you facilitate your most productive meetings?
What do you do to maintain your closest friendships?
When you are successful, evaluate your actions. Think about what you’re doing differently when you succeed instead of fixating on why or how you’ve failed. Determine the actions and decisions that lead to positive outcomes, and replicate them in all areas of your life. You’ll find that you can solve problems more widely and efficiently and pursue a lifestyle that is proactive toward success rather than reactive to failure.