Combating Everday Failure

This Week’s Focus Point

When was the last time you truly failed?

Gut wrenching, plate smashing, sleep destroying failure?

Has it been a while, or perhaps it’s fresh and you are still sore from it.

Either way, I bet you learned something valuable that you now share with others.

This is acute failure.

Acute failure is useful, we tend to create real shifts from it (we are often forced to).

Acute failure creates behavioural change – but, honestly, do we really want this in our businesses? Acute failure is expensive.

What about the other type of failure? The subtle, everyday stuff. The comment that went over wrong at the meeting yesterday. The workshop that went 30 minutes overtime. The decision to buy fast food instead of something pre-prepared from home.

Subtle failure is insidious, it adds up, but it doesn’t cause notable change. It lingers.

Subtle failures hardly ever sees the light of day. No reflection, no story telling, no growth.

How much subtle failure has crept into what you do?
It’s costing you. Alot.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting a pursuit of perfection here. That’s obsurd and irresponsible.

What I’m suggesting is creating space and opportunity for yourself and your team(s) to expose the subtle failures.  A daily check-in with the team at the end of the day (30 seconds each) on the following agenda:
1) What went well today?
2) What didn’t?
3) What would you change?

Throw people’s thoughts on a white board that’s visible to them for the next 24hrs.

Through the simple act of exposure, storytelling and a little public accountability we can all wage war on those hidden momentum drags.

Your Weekly Challenge

This week:

Schedule a week of afternoon check-ins with the following agenda for each attendee:
1) What went well today?
2) What didn’t?
3) What would you change?

Throw people’s thoughts on a white board that’s visible to them for the next 24hrs, then scrub and repeat.

This Week’s Thought Pulses

Leadership & Performance

We can all tell great war-stories of our acute failures.
We often know what we learned from them as well.
But are you learning from your subtle failures too?

Momentum & Energy

Honest and celebrated failure is great for building team momentum.
Hidden, unrecognised failure has quite the opposite effect.

Delivery & Oversight

Prior to agile, lesson reviews were conducted as part of end of stage or project reporting.
Then retrospectives moved that kind of thinking to the end of the time-box.
Neither attacks the everyday subtle failures.
That war can only be waged on the everyday front.

Announcements

New Free Resources!: 30 new ideas to maximise your people, processes and projects that you aren’t already doing! Find them on my resources page here.