Let’s jump in where we left off last time. Problems and challenges are inherent in the course of doing business, but we don’t have to get stuck there.
Forget the failure. Learn the lesson.
Maturity understands that Everyone, at some point, experiences a degree of personal or organizational failure. When I coach people through those tough learnings, I address two aspects of it. When you succeed, I want you to own that success. I want you to internalize it: You’re the woman! You’re the man! You’re the rock star! Own every bit of that. But when you fail, I want you to filter it as a system or process. Internalize success and externalize failure. When we internalize success, we get the emotional highs that we need to continue and go on.
Internalize success and externalize failure.
When we externalize failure, we recognize success is a process that must be worked to yield the right results. Success is the culmination of proper steps done over time. When we fail, we need to go back and do the diagnostics and identify lessons learned. I call them the “after action autopsies.” It’s time to cut the body open and see what happened. It’ll be one of two things: either you didn’t have the right system or you failed to work it. Either way, it’s a systemic failure. Either way, let’s mature: let’s learn the lessons and work an improved process.
The temptation when you really hit that wall is to recoil and wallow in the emotional pain. Don’t. Chalk it up to a University of Life experience! We’re all going to trip and misstep occasionally. Get up, dust yourself off, do a root cause analysis, learn the lessons, put that back into performance improvement and keep going.
There are a lot of leaders that just won’t admit their shortcomings or failures. Everybody on the team knows, but the leader won’t say, “That was my fault. I should have done something different.” Yet vulnerability-based trust is some of the most deeply connected organizational and personal trust. It builds amazing health into organizations.
Frustration comes from your expectations.
If you expected to run a race and be problem free, you’re going to be frustrated.
I heard someone say, “The glass is not half empty or half full. The realist knows that, regardless of what’s in the glass, it’s going to have to be washed sooner or later.” Welcome to life! Problems exist; there is no such thing as Utopia. There is no such thing as a perfect boss or a perfect company. If you do find a perfect company, please don’t join it—you’ll screw it up. You have to be a realist!
Everyone that walks in the front door after being hired has an expectation of what daily life is going to be like. When expectation meets experience, you’re either going to have fulfillment or frustration. Eventually you’ll either have an engaged or disengaged workforce. It’s one thing if people quit and leave; it’s another thing if they quit and stay. Gallup has done tons of studies on the cost of this to organizations.
The secret is in how fast you learn the organizational dynamics and then adapt. Learn the reality of how daily life is going to look, not the sales pitch you were given to join. Look at your leader and identify his or her strengths and struggles. Every organization and leader has both. As long as you know what they are and then shift in a way that you can cope, then you’re fine.
If you’re in a tough situation, what can you learn? How can you use this particular time to sharpen yourself? Learn how to face the storm that you’re in; turn your face to it and deal with it. Get through the pain quicker, bigger, better, faster. Do something about it; be an owner, not a victim, of your circumstances.
Problems are not the problem. The problem is that we can’t handle the problem, can’t talk about the problem, can’t work together to solve the problem. We are the problem.
Problems are a fact of life and a fact of business, so we shouldn’t be emotionally derailed when they happen. Everyone needs to organizationally rally around the root cause analysis. “What is this teaching us and what are we doing in response to it?” Remember that conflict avoidance is not conflict resolution. Experience the pain—then get out of the pain and into the solution!
For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!