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The New Paradigm of Failure

In my previous article on failure (Failure...aka The Invisible Side of Success, November 24th 2017), I wrote about failure in terms of experience, understanding it, and the differences between the good and the bad failure.

In today’s business world, top performing leader and successful entrepreneurs shifted their failure mindset from the old paradigm to the new one. They recognized that failure is indeed inevitable, that failure is a learning process, and failure contributes to their growth and performance.

Adopting the mentality of such successful performers requires you to first change your mindset and think about failure from a positive perspective, in order to benefit not only your career, but the organization culture as well.

Secondly, it requires approaching failure effectively, with a precise and constructive feedback, while also dropping the blaming attitude; to harvest the rewards of learning from your failure.

That learning culture matures into the key elements that drive your performance to the highest standard. Good failures unfold learning strategies and new tools, which will take you to the next level.

1. Develop a Learning Culture:

- Take ownership of your mistakes and say, “Ok I did this mistake”. In this moment the best ingredients are compassion towards yourself, optimism, while still taking due diligence on the actions which led to this result.

- Identify what specifically went wrong and what specifically went right.

- Get feedback from your trustworthy colleagues and superiors.

- Act immediately on the learning process. The time frame in which this process takes place is essential as it avoids rumination. Bouncing back in the right direction will allow better decision-making and therefore more impactful results for yourself and your team.

- Develop a learning habit from that experience by reflecting:

What specifically will I repeat? What specifically will I stop?

What specifically do I need to improve? Is it knowledge, social skills, self-awareness?

How specifically can I improve? Look at your resources and start with the most impactful ones.

What specifically needs improvement at the organizational level? Is it a process? Resource allocation? Rigid hierarchy? Lack of time management? Upper management’s underestimation for the failure’s root cause?

- Optimism is the best motivator: Martin Seligman says it best: “What you need to know about someone is whether they will keep going when things get frustrating. My hunch is that for a given level of intelligence, your actual achievement is a function not just of talent, but also of the capacity to stand defeat.”

2. Start your tool kit:

- Continuous process improvement: use these setbacks to build a process for next time…and improve it each time.

- Consolidate your relationships for a conducive and productive environment: turn your team and connections into a group of trust and expertise.

- Expand your network: build reliable networks before you actually need them in order to handle unanticipated problems, that way you will get a faster answer when you will be stuck next time.

- Create a self-development log: What have you learnt about yourself through this experience? What competence did you develop or acquire? Is it optimism? Resilience? Empathy? Conscientiousness? Courage? Persistence? Conflict resolutions?

- Write a failure resume in order to learn what elements made you succeed, and why, and how did you turn these experiences into success?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatale, it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

Shermeen Zeidan

Certified Master Coach

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, International Coaching Solutions provides 1 on1 coaching and workshops.

For further advise, feel free to contact me and visit my website.

I will be glad to hear from you.


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