Examining your wins and applying the lessons learned
is a winning success strategy all too rarely practiced in time-stressed organizations.
Most organizations I work with have learned to take the time to examine the particular circumstances that contribute to failure or significant problems. This is often called a ‘Post Mortem.’ It’s a great idea and companies that don’t learn from their mistakes in a systematic way often make the same or similar mistakes again and again.
But here is the real game changer….
Don’t just celebrate your successes;
Study your successes and let what you discover
lead to more big wins to come.
Standard business models have taught us to learn from our mistakes. Unfortunately we’re not so well trained in taking the time to explore the often subtle details behind our big wins.
The Big Idea here
is to bring the same care,
diligence and systematic exploration
and discovery to your successes!!!
“We don’t have the time.”
Sound familiar? That’s the story too often spun as organizations rush right past tremendous opportunities that can ultimately save them that very same precious time they crave.
But time is just time. Our power lies in how we choose to use it. It pays to take the time to stop and learn from our successes and then apply the lessons to our benefit.
How do we apply this winning strategy?
We often talk about taking the time to celebrate a success. Its important to enjoy the fruits of your labors and bask in the positive atmosphere of accomplishment. And even that is difficult for many teams and organizations to do with consistency and dedication. It takes discipline and forward thinking leadership to ensure that the team takes the time to recharge, take a deep collective breath, acknowledge the success, celebrate and realign themselves for the next big challenge.
Create a discipline around discovering
the “WHY” and “HOW”
behind your most important victories.
Some important areas of inquiry after a rousing success are:
- Did particular teams or individuals collaborate in ways that they never have before?
- Did certain teams or team members make any sacrifices that led to a larger success?
- Did one form of leadership emerge that the teams resonated with particularly well?
- What were the winning strategies in approaching difficult communication challenges?
- Which of the team or company values were followed through on to such a degree that it made a significant difference in the outcome of the project?
- What allies did you rely on for critical support? How are you going to thank them?
- What is repeatable in regards to the team dynamics, personal relationships and individual contributions?
- What behaviors do you want to make sure you reward and support?
These are questions that should be raised openly and in a structured manner after your big wins. Bring the players together to discuss winning strategies. This is best done face to face. It is through thoughtful questioning and discussion that the real “Ah-ha” discoveries come to light. Make this as routine and normal a practice as is the standard post mortem.
This won’t happen naturally!
Especially in an ultra busy work environment where the next big project is breathing down your neck.
You’ll need to purposefully set time aside for this ritual. If you’re not yet comfortable facilitating such a structured examination of the big learnings from your triumphs, you can always bring in someone who is trained in mining for such nuggets of wisdom.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn, grow and re-apply your best internal practices!! The time is ripe just after a big success to ask such critical and revealing questions; the answers to which might just surprise you and offer a powerful template for future wins!