Are mistakes fuel for growth?

I love the Winston Churchill quote, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing  your enthusiasm.”

In business, entrepreneurs will inevitably experience failure along the way. Fortunately, most growth  happens when working towards a goal we haven’t yet achieved or don’t yet know how to reach. Paying  attention to when things go wrong is an excellent hands-on way to determine infrastructure  improvements and growth opportunities.

We like to project everything working.

We have a vision for our business and write down the goals we want to achieve. We started working, thinking we knew how it would go, and something went sideways.

Pretty much all the time!

When that sideways thing happens, it’s easy to let it discourage us or have us feel off track. It can feel like a failure and make you question why you started your business in the first place.

But what if you started celebrating the times when things didn’t go as planned? I know. It sounds counterintuitive.

Stay with me here!

It’s time to embrace those sideways mishaps as unforeseen benefits. When we look at what went wrong and get curious about why it happened, we learn exactly what we need to know, what develop new skills are needed, to reach our goals.

Everything that goes wrong is another page in the Entrepreneurial School of Success book.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

Mistakes and failures that happen repeatedly may signal that you need more structure.

In W. Edwards Deming’s book, Out of Crisis, he states, “Over 90% of the time, when something goes wrong in a business, it is a system issue rather than a people issue.”

It could be that your business has outgrown its existing organizational structure. We tend to think human error is the main problem, but often we need to update our systems.

A good goal is to not have the same mistake happen twice.

If there are delivery issues, go over the process with the team members involved. Ask them for their input on how to create a more streamlined experience. Keep an eye out for things that go wrong repeatedly and keep an open mind for solutions your team members offer.

“If it’s left up to memory, it won’t happen consistently”

Rather than verbally training your team or discussing at a team meeting or in an email, create a training manual or handbook to which everyone has easy access. Then write down each as a part of your required Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs.

Mistakes are a byproduct of growth.

If you aren’t willing to experience setbacks, you and your team aren’t stretching. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”

Listen to your customers. Taking in positive feedback is easy. But working through the negative feedback is what will gain their respect and loyalty. Remember, something that happened may not necessarily be your fault, but it is your problem to solve for them.

Pay attention to your customers’

  • Challenges
  • Questions
  • Complaints

And use that information to make your business better and bring your team members closer together.

I’d love to hear about your perceived mistakes and failures and the growth that ensued! Share your thoughts in the comments!

You may also like to read Customer Service Tips for Success: Three Tips to Share at Your Next Team Meeting.

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