GET FOCUSED. GET CONTROL. GET GROWING.
Link to WHO WE WORK WITH Link to HOW WE WORK WITH Link to SERVICES Link to CASE STUDIES Link to RESOURCES Link to ABOUT US Link to CONTACT US
e-zine past issues small business ideas and resources
Sign up for our e-zine!
next: Selling Your Value
GET FOCUSED. GET CONTROL. GET GROWING.
Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 2
Issue 5

Turning Failures into Wins

Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.
Zig Ziglar

Recently, members of a CEO group I run were discussing how to best utilize our last three months together. They had already presented their own company issues to the group. Someone suggested we discuss everyone's greatest successes and failures. The group decided failures provided more valuable lessons than successes. How could that be? While successes make us feel good, failures shake us up and jar our belief systems.

We all rely on too many assumptions. When our businesses are going well, we often don't take time to think about why. Failure brings out the analyst in us. We ask the following questions: Why did this happen? What could I have done differently? Why didn't I see that coming? What was I thinking?

Finding answers to these questions turn "old" failures into future successes. Typical types of large-scale mistakes in businesses are:

  • Terminating an employee who is not a good fit after too much damage is done. Often, bosses do not terminate early enough and morale is affected.
  • Delaying decisions that require immediate action. It is hard to admit to missed opportunities. Decisions can be modified if ineffective.
  • Launching a product too soon or too late. Waiting too long can give competitors the edge. Getting a product out before it is ready can result in unfavorable first impressions.
  • Starting or operating a business without enough working capital. A fatal business mistake is not having enough working capital to keep the business afloat. Constant cash shortfalls can ruin credit and prevent success.
  • Being too complacent with the way things are. Every business needs to be innovative, ahead of the competition and the market.

Once you have identified what went wrong, it takes effort not to repeat your mistakes. Understanding the cause and effect is important. Ask yourself, "Could I have planned better? Why didn't I listen to people around me? If I spent more time and money on research, would I have made the same decision?" Look for patterns in your decision-making process. Understand your areas of weaknesses.

What got in the way of doing it right?

  • Did you wait too long or react impulsively?
  • Are you managing growth? Moving too quickly can be dangerous, as discussed in a previous newsletter. Having the resources to fill orders is critical to get over the transition to growth.
  • Does discomfort and change make you uneasy? It could prevent you from moving in the right direction. The need for change is the one constant in both business and life.
  • Are you uncomfortable with confrontation? The need to be liked can get in the way of making difficult choices. As a leader, you must take difficult steps to keep your business on course.
  • Are you too close to see the big picture? Pull yourself out of the situation or hire someone who can see what you cannot.

The greatest successes often come from repeated failures. Abe Lincoln ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress twice before he was elected president. Thomas Edison had many failed inventions before his successes. He expressed his can-do attitude this way, " I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Realizing that failures are the appetizers in the feast of success will help you use those hurdles to get where you want to go, to reach the wins.

info@possibilities-at-work.com | 978-255-1767 | 25 Storey Avenue #290, Newburyport, MA 01950
site map | 20032013 Possibilities@Work, All rights reserved