by Laura Camacho
You know failure is part of success, but what is the best way to get the most benefit from those painful and maybe embarrassing mistakes?
When you get things wrong, you learn. Be sure to congratulate yourself on trying something, on getting out of your comfort zone and taking the calculated risk. Not everyone does that and your failure is testament to your personal courage.
The philosophy of being open to failure (or even “celebrating failure”) is a popular topic of conversation in the tech world. No matter what your business is about, learning from your mistakes is a worthy pursuit. Even giant tech companies, like Apple, know what’s it’s like to fail.
Apple is an interesting case of maximizing failure. Although it leads the list for today’s smartphone fans and tops the market of computer-related products, the company is also a top producer of expensive and embarrassing failures. How many companies fire their founder, as Apple’s CEO did in 1985?
Around 1998 its PDA device was mocked and ridiculed on the American cartoon series, The Simpsons. Another goof was the company’s online community called “eWorld” that closed after only two years. Many of its early computers failed, but what they learned in the process was used to develop successful models, such as the Mac.
Maximizing failure requires that you ask what went wrong, why it happened and how can you make the product, the service or the marketing, even better in future?
Be even more specific in your analysis. Was it an issue of timing? Was it a marketing problem or a product problem? Would it work better for a different audience? Or maybe it’s an issue of distribution.
While you’re in analysis mode, be sure to hone in on the aspects that did go right. In the case of Apple’s PDA, the smaller device was the precursor to the smart phone.
Your particular failure has the seeds of future success. Don’t forget to nurture them.
Laura Camacho, MBA, PhD, PMP, is an executive coach, trainer and speaker who opened Mixonian Institute in 2009 to rid the world of boring business communication. She has created innovative training programs for local and international companies, related to leadership effectiveness, excellent feedback, growth mindset and emotional intelligence. Multilingual, Dr. Camacho’s career highlights include facilitating The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (in Spanish,) being editor of the leading management newsletter in Venezuela. For 10 years she taught communication classes at ECU and College of Charleston. www.mixonian.com
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