Failure is a fact of life. Failure happens. When it happens to you, you can lament about it and look to blame someone (other than you) or something. When you follow this approach, the next step is to throw up your hands in disgust and frustration, walk away and quit.
Or, you can make the conscious decision to take a step back, evaluate what happened and learn from the experience. And as you might suspect, this is the preferred action. In this regard, I stress a 4-step process that when things go wrong and you fail, you own it, fix it, learn from it and move on. And when you do fail, fail fast. I follow a simple rule: “Fail your failures fast,” so that you can get back on track and keep moving forward.
Taking a risk is the decision that sometimes leads to failure. To minimize the possibility of failure, learn to take calculated risks. Many of you have heard me say, “A turtle moves forward by sticking its neck out.”
Without risk, there will be no growth or success. With risk, comes failure. Everyone fails at some point, but it’s how you handle your failures that make all the difference. Learn to handle failures properly. Make your failures a learning experience for you and for your team. Share the experience of what went wrong and more importantly, share what was learned. Teams respect a leader who accepts responsibility for what went wrong and who is willing to take the necessary actions to make it right.
When you do fail, stay calm and first figure out what went wrong. Be objective; there is no room for emotion when looking for solutions to mistakes that have been made. Next, as you learn from the experience, make the commitment to yourself never to make the same mistake again. Finally, if you were the reason you failed, accept responsibility. But don’t beat yourself up about it, just move on.