ABC’s Of Leadership – F Is For Fail Forward

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Failing forward, or learning from what went wrong with a specific project or situation, is a critical component of having a successful career and being an effective leader. Becoming better from your mistakes, rather than spending all your time focusing on covering them up or defending them, is the key here. As a leader, one must strive to develop a growth mindset. This way, you and your team can evolve from your failures.

When thinking through new product ideas or service offerings, a leader must encourage his team to remove failure as an option. Instead, he or she should encourage them to think through any possible ideas, regardless of how absurd they might sound. Some ideas may fail when launched but a team (and its leader) must be okay with that. The real failure is the fear of launching an idea until it is perfect.

Another issue is analysis paralysis. This occurs when a leader over-thinks or over-analyzes a situation so much that he or she is not able to make a decision, resulting in no action being taken. This “analysis paralysis” can be detrimental to a leader’s career if it can’t be resolved. In order to overcome analysis paralysis in the decision-making process, make sure you give yourself and your team a strict deadline and try to keep from digging into every detail that comes up. No matter how much information you have, there will always be more to sift through. Make small, actionable decisions that will propel you and your team forward. Change is ongoing, so you will never be able to make the “perfect” decision.

You can create a win-win situation by putting in place specific measures to help your team to keep improving and moving towards your final goals. The focus should be on continually improving and not worrying about whether or not every decision is the correct one. If you set a specific deadline for a project, get a sanity check from others when appropriate, and stay focused on the team’s ultimate goal, you can help avoid analysis paralysis and adjust your project goals when appropriate.

Think back to the last time you failed at something. Did you grow and learn from your failure and move forward? It is worth the time to write down some of the things you learned and how they apply to current situations.

Other “F” words to ponder – forecast, future, flexible, fearlessness, fair, and faith.



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