No-one likes losing. I don’t! I generally feel like I’ve take a step backwards. Those I work with may have lost a little faith.
Maybe. Maybe not.
I think it’s apocryphal but if it took 10,000 failures for Edison to invent the light bulb, noting each time that, “well, that didn’t work”, and then “that didn’t work” – 10,000 times, it was all learning, not losing.
More recently, a product called WD-40, has that name because the first 39 versions did not achieve what the creators were developing! (HT to Michelle Ockers of Learning Uncut)
I attended a leadership course a couple of years ago and here are my bullet points I rediscovered while re-organising my reference material (bracketed notes are my thoughts now):
– There is always more than one perspective, you may need to change lenses (this can be tough, especially in a topic you thought you had sorted already but …)
– There’s generally more than one “right” answer (and rather than thinking we were wrong or fell short, maybe we just added a cool new tool to our toolkit.)
– And, building on that, don’t stop at the first “right” answer you find (always ask, at least initially, “And what else …?”)
– Learn to sell your “photos”, or, in management terms, your vision (the “photo” reference may have come from a story in the course which I cannot recall)
– Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (this is a well worn truism, still true though)
– Break the pattern (people maybe more comfortable with unhappiness than uncertainty (Tim Ferris, 4 Hour Work Week, p xx). Breaking the patterns may need broad shoulders for a while. People are comfortable with their own patterns.)
– Reframe the problem to be an opportunity (e.g. what can I learn from this gap?)
Every time we look at what we have done and critically analyse it, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn something new:
– about ourselves and
– about those we work with.