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The 3rs for failure

It’s only fitting to follow up my previous blog on the 6Ps for success with the 3Rs for failure. All of us will inevitably have a time where we just didn’t measure up and consequently, we probably let a customer or someone on our team down. Not to worry, here is my clear and concise way to get back on track and all you have to do is remember the 3Rs.

First and foremost, you must RECOGNIZE your behavior, actions or performance was not up to standards and it was your fault. Sometimes we don’t stop long enough to evaluate our role in a blunder, and someone has to call us out which can be an embarrassing moment. During these instances, we usually make excuses or quibble our way out of taking responsibility for the error. Next time--stop, think and reflect. If it’s your fault, own it immediately. The faster you fess up and acknowledge it was your fault, the quicker you will start the process of fixing the situation.

Next, you must have REMORSE for your actions. The definition is simple--be genuinely sorry for your actions! If you dropped the ball on an assignment or hurt someone’s feelings, a personal apology will certainly turn the failure into a team building moment and will reinforce the mutual respect of your co-workers. Nothing festers in a group worse than not making a timely, genuine apology to a teammate.

Lastly, you must REHABILITATE yourself in some form. Sometimes this comes in the form of admonishment or demotion from your boss or many times it takes the form of a conscious, self-adjustment to how you conduct yourself in the future. Accept the conditions of the rehabilitation without resentment or bitterness, but rather as a life-lesson that will prevent you from making the same error in the future. Always use the rehabilitation phase as a time to improve yourself and your performance--fail forward!

These 3Rs are clear and concise but I didn’t say they were easy. Human nature doesn’t take well to admitting failure, expressing sorrow and paying dues for messing up. So, this must be a learned, ritual hopefully started early in life. For many of us, the 3Rs were used quite a bit when we were growing up because we were always in trouble. Our parents and teachers introduced and taught us the 3Rs. As we grew older, failing repeatedly was not permitted and peer competition eroded the value of the failure process. This left grievances unresolved, improvement on performance stagnant and definitely impacted our relationship with others. As a leader, you will not only be faced with failures of your own to remedy but also intervene on the failures of your team. Some individuals will need a refresher on the 3Rs to get back on track to the 6Ps for success!



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