Fail Well for Success

You’ve often heard the phrase, “Failure is not an option.” The truth is failure does happen and it does happen often. Particularly to people that who take risks, people that focus on expanding their opportunities, implementing bigger ideas, and following their own paths, not paths designed by others.

We’ve all done our best to avoid failure or minimize it – yet, it shows up over and over. Our inability or unwillingness to address these life lessons makes it harder for us to succeed. Every achievement has a story of what didn’t work behind it – unfortunately, media doesn’t often share those struggles and what was learned during the process.

As business leaders, it’s important to learn how to handle mistakes and learn from them. Trying to cover them up, deny they happened, blame others, or allow our confidence to wane are not good choices. There’s no magical way to deal with or get past failure. Each person needs to work through their challenges one day at a time.

Why do failures hang around? There are failures that simply happen (e.g., the economy) and failures we could have prevented (e.g., implementing quality control procedures). We’ve created stories to minimize their impact or excuses to justify why they happened. Emotionally we hang onto the sadness, guilt and negativity, while failing to forgive ourselves and forgive others. Often, we continue to indulge in bad habits or stay in situations that are not healthy. The key is to recognize a potential problem and resolve it proactively.

How can we learn from failure faster? Hire a trusted advisor who can help you clarify what worked and what didn’t work. Take time to acknowledge that things didn’t work out as expected. Many times the actual outcome does not match up with our perceptions of “what should have happened.”

How do we fail well for success?

  • Write down your thoughts and feelings when the incident(s) happens. Don’t share your private journal with anyone. The act of writing can be cathartic when you simply express your thoughts on paper without concerns for grammar, punctuation, and word choices.
  • Walk it out. It’s hard to be depressed when you’re in action.
  • Talk it out with a few select confidants – don’t go it alone. Be clear these conversations are not designed as pity sessions. Their purpose is to help you develop compassion and wisdom from your lesson(s) learned.Remember, there will be more opportunities to fail and succeed – life gives you lemons or lemonade – it’s your choice to work through the challenges or succumb when mistakes happen! The key is to fail well so that you’re not repeating the same life lessons.

 

Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 20 years; she guides the creation of new solutions for business challenges. Learn more about these and other successful leadership techniques by visiting her blogs posts on: http://SeibCo.com and get your copy of, “5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Results (and Enjoy Being a Leader Again)” http://ow.ly/ysgYQ

When company changes so do you

The right attitude and action is required during company mergers and sales.

Changes in company business structures can quickly eliminate the need for your job, or you! They may reduce your job responsibilities so that you are no longer part of the core team—most employers don’t need two people doing the same job. If your position is eliminated, the key is to be available and open to sharing your knowledge and experience. Be helpful and provide the training required to the person who will take over your responsibilities. Why? Your positive attitude can change the company’s plans to eliminate you! It may alternatively motivate your boss to provide a glowing reference to your next employer or a valued introduction to your next boss. Have your brag statements ready to share in any interview, formal or otherwise, to let others know how you can be an invaluable resource. (http://TimeToBrag.com)

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Have you had a bad review?

A bad review doesn’t mean your job or career is over. However, it’s a warning something needs to change and change quickly. Your opinions or feelings about the review won’t save your job or change your boss’s decision! Chances are good that you’ll take whatever issue you’re confronting (bad boss, poor company practices, poor performance or attitude, etc.) to your next job due to your attitude about authority, how companies should structure their businesses, or not having found your career niche.

Before actively renewing your resume or increasing your interview readiness, take time to review what you have achieved. (http://TimeToBrag.com) Share your successes with your boss, and put them in writing so he or she can attach them to your performance review. Also, be sure you have your past and current metrics available and include them with your review if they have been favorable. Next, work with your boss to put together two or three “must-dos” to help you improve your performance. Hire an executive or business coach to help you navigate the list and ensure that you are making the right decisions along the way. (http://SeibCo.com/contact) Finally, schedule weekly meetings with your boss to assess progress, tweak the process, and address any new issues that arise.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Drama keeps you focused …

… on the wrong things!  We create these distractions or ongoing noise to keep us from doing what we say we want to do, and we allow these circumstances to stymie us.  It’s safer to stay comfortable. We know what to expect. Taking that leap of faith can be scary—but the inherent benefits are that the effort builds confidence, competence, and clarity. Hire a business advisor or executive coach, and be prepared to soar.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

How has “drama” kept you from doing what you needed to do?

Get Unstuck

When you are stuck or simply procrastinating, being overly focused on your inner psyche to justify the reasons why will keep you from doing what you need to do. It takes as much time, or more, to create excuses than to simply do the work! Become responsible for your own motivation instead of blaming your boss or employees for being uninspired.  To rejuvenate a project, uncover the source of an issue, or resolve an employee concern, use the steps in the eGuide “5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Results!”  http://seibco.com/coaching-report/ The mark of a true leader is doing what needs to be done in an effective manner, regardless of how you feel about wanting to do it. 

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013 

Do you know when to trust the data or your instincts?

Successful leaders have to grapple with this dilemma often. They believe their intuition is telling them what the true answer is. Or, they want to trust the numbers. However, intuition can be wrong and 100 percent reliance on data can send you down the wrong path too. Developing a strong business balance between statistics and your sixth sense takes experience, time, and practice. As business owners and executives know, making the wrong decisions can cost the company more than money. It can also cost their reputation, clients, and top talent.

What do you do when you don’t trust the data? Trust the process. For example: When you hire a person based upon your gut reaction, even when the facts disagree, you didn’t trust your selection system. The truth is, failure to pay attention to good objective information will negatively impact your decisions.

Better questions to ask yourself: Do you know how to correctly use qualified hiring tools and follow a strategic selection process? (BizSavvyHire.com)  Do you have an unconscious habit of hiring and firing until you find the right person? (Hint: Honestly look at your turnover numbers.) Asking these types of questions can help you determine the underlying (aka real) reason you may not trust the data. 

Which one do you trust when your data or intuition is contrary to others’ opinions? Trust yourself and be open to being right and wrong. For example, many times when a company is experiencing difficulty achieving results, it’s because a controlling leader or dominating team member made erroneous judgments based heavily on facts or feelings. Learn to ask good business questions and listen to people’s responses. Being open to changing your mind doesn’t mean you have to. However, being adamant that you are right is usually a sign of impending disaster.

Strong leaders trust themselves and know how to develop win-win outcomes by working with and through others. They are prepared for the downside of any decision. They use their results as dashboards to develop trust in themselves and others when making balanced factual and intuitive decisions.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Money conversations

Having fear-based beliefs that you can’t afford something important can create a lot of mischief in your enterprise. Although budgets, monetary controls, and other financial considerations must be handled in a fiscally responsible manner, doing so in a Scrooge-like way usually takes its toll on the company–particularly when it’s self-serving.

Teach yourself and others to become resourceful, honor budgets, and learn how to become fiscally responsible. Many employees have not had responsibilities in costing, pricing, or creating profit margins for products and/or services in a competitive manner. Don’t make it difficult to achieve intended results; simply be responsible for the financial outcomes of how and where you spend the company’s money.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

What if …?

Many times we don’t listen and ask good business questions. We fear others will become upset, and many times they do. Their emotion signals their attachment to what they’ve already spent time working on and how they think about it. However, not asking the “What if …?” questions can prevent an adequate project from becoming great, a poor ROI from being wildly successful, or an OK employee from becoming a top performer.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

When do you need a coach?

Everyone needs help to build a company, create unprecedented results, and work with and through others to complete a successful project on time and within budget.  Make sure your coach has the experience and ability to help create new ideas or methods that will help you. Simply following a standardized program is usually not the answer for most successful business owners, executives, or highly mobile professionals. Make it personal in order to achieve your intended professional results.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Are You a Moody Leader?

  • Do you thrive on drama?
  • Do people calculate your approachability before talking to you?
  • Do you gossip about your employees or clients?
  • Do others consider you untrustworthy?
  • Do you make decisions based upon your feelings at the moment?

Leaders set examples for the rest of the organization to follow. If you lack consistency in how you communicate, disrespect others in word or deed, or don’t trust others to do their best, employees respond accordingly. If you react (or over-react) before getting the facts, they may be afraid to speak up for fear of retribution. You create more of an issue.

If others are concerned about your effectiveness as a good leader, they will withhold valuable information. In these situations, often your employees’ focus is not on the organization’s goals. They are focused instead on how to work around your moodiness and still keep their jobs.

As a leader, immediate help is required to reaffirm your leadership position and move the enterprise forward. What can you do to resolve this?

Hire a business advisor. Being coachable is critical to anyone’s success, particularly top management. It can be lonely at the top; too often leaders don’t have someone else to talk with and their job can feel like a burden. Talk weekly with a business advisor. Focus on less dramatic ways to handle issues and have the benefit of consistent clarity to guide your organization forward.

Communicate effectively.  #1 concern for any leader! Be prepared to listen more than talk. Learn to ask the right questions. Be open to news you may not like, or new ideas you had not considered. Stop the internal chatterbox ; it inhibits your ability to actually hear what others are saying. When you need to deliver unpopular news or decisions, first think through what you need to say. Write it out. Read it out loud in the mirror. Keep it short, not long-winded.

Stop “should-ing.” Too often we believe people should have known or shouldn’t have said something. We forget the mistakes we’ve made ourselves over the years! A good rule of thumb: When someone does something great, let them know. When they make a mistake, take time to discuss it as soon as possible, one-on-one. When performance concerns are addressed in a consistent and respectful manner, it provides clarity about your expectations. Your employees will usually make the corrections required. If you scream at them, even once, it can damage your long term effectiveness.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012