- We all screw up sometimes; don’t miss the learning opportunity.
- Use it as an opportunity to figure out what happened
- Recognise that there are usually multiple causes
- Figure out where YOU went wrong, and fix it.
- Feedback is a gift, don’t throw it away.
Failing is never fun, but it is only excruciating if you fail to learn from your mistakes.
Recently, we discovered that a project we had commenced for a new client had gone horribly off the rails. In our haste to meet a set of incompatible requirements we bypassed many of our processes and checks, we’d ended up in a place which was a long way from our values. The situation was unrecoverable, and I was devastated.
So here are the three lessons we learned…
- It’s never just one thing! As a keen reader of the disaster genre, I know that it is never only one thing that goes wrong. True disasters require a series of bad judgements, bad circumstances to accumulate before the “bad “luck” can kick into gear. Trust your gut to pick up the early signs, and take action.”
- Know your customer, and have the courage to say no, as soon as you realise that their expectations are incompatible to what you can deliver. Work harder to see the world through their eyes, and if their expectations are radically different from that, you know your business can achieve, make sure that it is clearly communicated.
- Recognise that your work is not for everyone. We all fall into the trap sometimes of thinking we can help everyone, all the time. It takes a special kind of empathy, to be able to say “Here’s the phone number of my competitor, I think they might be able to do a better job for you than I can”
Don’t let an opportunity like a failure to deliver on a customer’s expectations go to waste. Complete a full audit of everything that went wrong (and right) leading up to the final outcome. Find the gaps in your systems, your marketing mistakes and sales slip-ups. When you’ve identified all of the rot and branch causes, take action to fix them.