I know that sounds like an odd mantra to follow, but it depends on how you view failure. In your company is failure viewed as a disaster or as an opportunity for training?
Every time we try something new, failure is going to be a part of it.
We start off with great expectations and plans, we focus on a new job or a new idea and everyone is excited. But through trial and error, we find what works and what doesn’t. And what exactly is trial and error? Failure.
If your company focuses on failure as a negative and success is the only acceptable outcome, then you will never be as successful as you can be.
Why? Because your employees will be not take risks for fear of repercussions from management. They will continue to only stay within the boundaries of what is currently acceptable. In time however what is working now will most likely, not work in the future. Times change, customers have different needs, processes need revamping. Fresh ideas change the playing field in business all the time. But given that no one your team is willing to try new things, your competition will pass you by.
Failure should be looked upon as training. We don’t yell and scream at a children when they are learning to walk or feed themselves and “fail” every time they fall down or make a mess. We encourage every little achievement and constantly give support to help guide them to the correct behavior.
Think of all of the things we all “failed” at as we grew up, like driving a car, spelling, writing, throwing a ball, interviewing, heck, even dating. The list goes on and on. There were countless times we failed but we focused on the effort and kept at it.
As in life, at work there is a learning curve and a need to constantly tweak our approach, and tests new things to maximize performance and productivity. So focus on the following:
1. What result did we get? Be specific in comparing the result to what was expected.
2. Why did it happen? Was it because of poor training or poor execution? Your training will be focused differently based on the response.
3. How are we going to change? What specific things do you have to change in order to get a different result?
Remember to focus on actions, not emotions. This will give you concrete things to adjust and makes it easier to encourage your team to go full out in the new direction.
Approach your teams “failures” with a positive spin, offering relentless coaching and encouragement. Soon you will notice your team pushing themselves further, and getting you better results.
Improved Performance Solutions is a management consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations improve their profits through streamlining processes and increasing production from their employees.