You failed in other words to deliver the result you wanted. A result other people were expecting, relying on even.
What to do?
The tried and true default option is to come up with the best reasons, explanations, justifications and excuses you can think of. And, we all know the bigger the miss the bigger the justification needs to be. We all know from experience that that strategy has worked well in the past. In fact, we can even state it as a winning formula:
No result + a good explanation, justification, reason, and excuse = the result.
This may be a good CMA strategy however, it is not a good strategy if the commitment is to learn, grow, and develop. Or, in other words, stay in your job, or stay in business.
Here are some steps that are much more powerful in dealing with failure.
- Acknowledge I/we failed to meet our Q1 target. Not bad or wrong, just a fact.
- Do an after-action review
a. What worked? Even in failure we did things that worked. It is important to recognize that, and to make sure that all the things that worked are embedded in processes and practices, so you can reliably continue doing what works
b. With hindsight, what did not work? The hindsight part is critical. Had we known in the moment of action that what we were doing was not going to work we would not have done it. By framing our question with the benefit of hindsight we are more able to see what we could not see in the moment of action
c. With hindsight, what was missing, that had it been in place I/we would have had a better outcome?
- Build the insights from your after-action reviews into your day-to-day habits and procedures.
Failing is not something to be avoided. Failing to learn from failing that is a potential career/business killer – and we should definitely avoid that self-inflicted wound.