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Leadership Management Training - Failure is Not an Option

Leadership Management Training - Failure is Not an Option

Failure is Not an Option

Everyone wants to succeed, nobody likes to fail.

But failure and success are not things that "just happen". They are both consequences of earlier actions:

  • If the earlier actions were correct, then success will follow
  • If the earlier actions were not correct, then failure will follow

It is hard to succeed, but even harder to fail. Although it is not easy to succeed, observation and experience tells us that it is even harder to fail.

Meaning, if you fail frequently, then your life gets harder but If you succeed frequently, then your life gets easier

So it may be hard to succeed, but it is much harder to fail.

You should make up you mind and tell yourself, that no matter what your goal is, you will succeed. And that, for you, failure is not an option.

Saying that you won't fail, is easier said than done. The question we need to answer is how can you stop yourself from failing?

We know that every event has a cause. That means:

  • Success must have causes
  • Failure, being the opposite of success, must have opposite causes

The causes of success

The causes of success are described by the success formula. If you follow our blogs you will know that success is described by a simple six step process that is reiterated every day.

The process that drives success is as follows:

  1. Decide your goal.
  2. Formulate a detailed written plan of action.
  3. Carry out the plan to the best of your ability.
  4. Keep an eye on the results that your current actions are producing. Ask yourself, "Are my current actions taking me towards my goal, or not?"
  5. If your current actions are not taking you towards your goal, analyse the feedback to figure out what adaptive changes to the plan of action will correct the error and bring you back on track?
  6. Return to step 2 and repeat steps 2-6 until the goal at step 1 is achieved.

This is the success formula. Memorise it.

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Failure is the opposite of success.

If we know a formula that will create success, then the opposite formula will create failure.

Take a look at the following six step failure formula and see if there are any elements in yourself or any of the others that you work with.

Failure formula step 1. No goal focus

Failures have a drifter mentality. No sense of urgency. No sense of being here for a definite purpose. They say things like:

Take it easy. I don't care. They don't pay me enough to worry about it. It is not my job. I can't wait till Friday.

Failure formula step 2. No plan

Failures don't plan enough. They don't prepare enough. They don't practice enough. They don't think ahead. Instead they wing it. They say things like:

Don't worry. I'll wing it when I get there. What's the point of planning? It's so chaotic around here, you can't plan. It is chaotic because there is not enough planning!

Failure formula step 3. No action

Procrastination. Put it off until tomorrow. Put it off because you are not in the right mood right now. Failures say things like:

We have plenty of time. We don't need to bother with it now. Let's go for a coffee. We can do all this prep. next week.

Failures don't take action. They procrastinate.

Failure formula step 4. Don't bother to check results, and fight the feedback

Failures don't measure their progress, (mostly because they are not making any). In addition,

  • Failures don't understand the value of negative feedback.
  • Failures don't like their errors being identified and made the subject of examination.
  • So they fight all feedback messages that are designed to inform them of where they are going wrong.

As a result of being unable to handle negative feedback, they fail to learn from their mistakes, and they repeat the same mistakes, every day for years.

Minor errors, repeated every day. This is a major cause of failure.

  • Minor errors, repeated every day, for months
  • Minor errors, repeated every day, for years

And these errors, though minor, become so ingrained into their daily habits, or into the company culture, that they slowly erode and reduce the productivity of the team or the individual. But the destruction is so gradual that they don't even know they are in the process of failing, by virtue of their own bad habits.

Failure formula step 5. Refusal to change

The success formula requires that you change, in the light of off target feedback.
But failures, hate change. They can't see why they should have to make changes.
For failures, change represents the unknown, and the unknown is uncomfortable and is, therefore, to be resisted.

For failure mentalities, sameness, no change, is the good. "Sameness" means sticking to what you are comfortable with, and being comfortable feels nicer. So failures fight against the need for change.

They say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why do we have to keep changing things? Why can't we just stay the same; or better still, why can we not return to the good old days, before the changes?"

Failure formula people are non-progressive. They hate change. Failure formula people are intransigent. They are afraid of the future.

Failure formula step 6. Giving up too soon

Unwillingness to try again after a setback. The success formula requires that you repeat steps, 2-6 until the goal at step 1 is achieved.

  1. Plan B, action, feedback, change
  2. Plan C, action, feedback, change
  3. Keep going......

Failures don't keep going. They give up too soon. After two or three attempts, they give up, and go home.

Success orientated people never give up. They keep coming back with an improved plan. This is the key to understanding how to succeed.

The failures don't understand how important it is to always come back tomorrow, with a new, improved plan of action. So they fail.

Summary of failure formula.

Make the following list, a non-option for you, and your team:

  1. Drifting into the future, with no sense of Goal focus.
  2. No detailed written plans of how you intend to achieve your long range goals.
  3. No action. Insufficient action. A tendency to procrastinate.
  4. A Refusal to look at or accept negative feedback. Not realising "negative feedback" is valuable information.
  5. Refusal to change. Refusal to adapt.
  6. Give up too soon. Give up and go home.

Learn the list above and take each element off your "to do list". Then, for you, failure will not be an option.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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