Turn Your Failures into Success (Part 2)

“The road to success and the road to
failure are almost exactly the same.”
~ Colin R. Davis



Last week, we brought you Part 1 of our post.  Hope you all found a nugget or two of wisdom in there. Part 2 focuses on our own twist on Dave Lavinsky of Growthink’s  ”Six Steps for Turning Failure into Success”.  First we’ll give you Dave’s Principles, and then give you our version on how we can apply these principles to Project Management.

To read the full Article, with Dave’s 6 Steps go to the GrowThink blog: http://www.growthink.com/content/six-steps-turning-failure-success


These are our edits to Dave’s article on how to apply these principles to Project Management.

When you’re starting or running a project, you’ll face lots of challenges and unfortunately realize failures more often than you’d like. One of the hallmarks of successful project managers is that they routinely overcome these obstacles.

To do the same, follow these six steps to respond to failures:

1) Admit the mistake. Knowing the true cause of a failure is the first step to overcoming it, after acknowledging that there’s a problem or failure in the first place. Leaders who practice denial might feel better about themselves temporarily, but nothing gets done to make things better. Face it-no one wants to admit they messed up and it’s hard to accept when something’s just not working anymore.

2) Be kind to yourself (and your team!) - Even if you directly caused the failure, remember that it’s a matter of your actions and their results-not from some personal defect. It’s not always about you! Try to separate yourself from the problem and look at it objectively.  Do not point fingers.  It is not productive, impacts morale and discourages everyone from taking risks in the future.

3) Talk it through with someone who can offer insight or supportPerhaps another PM who has run a similar project or a consultant could help you look at the situation objectively and offer ideas that have worked elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Again, asking for help does not mean you’re not good enough. It means you’re committed to achieving outcomes without letting ego get in your way.

4) Find out what you can learn from the failure. The odds are you did things that worked and things that didn’t. Examine them and the reasons why they worked or didn’t. What you learn here will form the assumptions you’ll rely on when making a plan of action in the following steps.

5) Attack, not shrink - When people run into financial problems or serious crises, they usually go in one of two directions. They can shrink back, become more risk-averse, and try to cut expenses and do less to avoid the problem. It’s basically cowering and hiding. Or they can attack the problem like a foreign army invading enemy territory. Which strategy do you think has won more wars?  Weigh your options.  You have options e.g., add resources, conduct lessons learned and replan, bring in a turnaround expert.

6) Make a new plan and move forward. Thinking about the past is helpful-for the purpose of learning from it. But ruminating and dwelling in the past, reliving your mistakes and thinking about how things could and should have turned out differently just isn’t productive.



About the Author

Dawn is CEO and Senior Business Consultant at Blue Isis,LLC., a Program Management Office (PMO) & Talent Development consulting firm. While her math degree didn't kill her and made her a stronger problem solver, her first love is communicating. So when she met Project Management, she was hooked. Dawn is a dynamic leader, regular speaker, an acknowledged coach and mentor and has never met a warm water sport she hasn't liked. For more information on Blue Isis, LLC and their services go to their website at www.blueisisllc.com. Stay connected with Dawn and Blue Isis on Twitter @BlueIsisLLC and on Facebook www.facebook.com/BlueIsisLLC.