Finding Opportunities in Facing Your Mistakes
It’s that time of year — holly and pumpkin-spiced coffee, Secret Santa gift exchanges and long waits in airports. But it’s also time for the year-end business review. It’s funny how that all collides into one giant mess of self-analysis filled with stress, worry, regret and disappointment. And here you are, examining your year-end mistakes, accounting for each item line-by-line. You’re assessing project directions, budgets, personnel and goals, all while staring deeply at the floating specks of nutmeg in the foam of your holiday office party eggnog.
It’s no surprise an old friend (or specter) creeps up to follow you this time of year. And it’s not the ghost of Christmas Past, Present or Future.
It’s Boris Karloff
Well, it’s his voice. It’s the Grinch and his tiny heart and abiding annual distaste for joy. You face him as you look at under-appealing numbers and low-trending charts. It’s the part of you that gets defeated by your mistakes and misfires. It’s that Grinch, green with displeasure as the Whos of Whoville join hands singing in the face of your end-of-year review fears.
What doozy of a mistake are you fearing will come back to haunt you?
- Are you a boss worried that a mistake will lose you the respect of your team? Was it an awful fit in a high-profile staff hire that didn’t work out?
- Do you report to a VP and fear a harsh evaluation? Maybe you approved a pricey SaaS contract that is essentially wasting money.
- Have you hit the mid-manager wall and are at your wit’s end for a promotion? Did your expensive facilities expenditure go awry?
- Are you stuck on the ground floor yearning to be recognized for what good you’ve done? Do you feel they only notice you when things go wrong?
Don’t fear your year-end mistakes. Face them.
At this time of year, you have an opportunity to see what did and didn’t work and find creative takeaways. Face your mistakes, even those that feel like full-on failures. Even when mistakes cost money, you can turn it around.
Okay, boss, let’s talk about that embarrassing, very publicized staff hire…
Yes, this hire was a mess, but you’ve successfully hired for years. Turn this problem around. Can you find a new role for this person? Perhaps a lateral move? Do they need professional training or other support? You cannot let this one experience make you doubt your otherwise spot-on instincts. That next hire will be an awesome fit.
Okay, team leader, you are facing a concerning evaluation with your VP…
Take the SaaS contract that lost your department money and use it in your own self-evaluation you deliver to the VP. Make a case study for how to henceforth evaluate software service subscriptions. Use that to prove you can turn a bad choice into a great new departmental policy.
Okay, mid-manager, you are desperate for a promotion with an unfortunate facilities expenditure…
You bought new furniture to accommodate a staff expansion. Then a downturn hit, and you couldn’t hire the new team. Create a repurposing solution. Maybe it’s all custom-designed and non-returnable. Take the loss, but find a place in the budget to accommodate it, or find a new home for the furniture. Perhaps given the stress of this economic downturn, new furniture for your now-overworked existing staff is just the spark they need to perform even better.
Okay, you are on the ground floor, but you are not defined by only your mistakes…
This is on you to show up and be seen for all the good work you feel that no one notices. Let’s look at those mistakes. Sit down with HR and ask for advice. Take a career test to gain a fresh perspective on where your weaknesses and strengths lie. Odds are that the mistakes are about something very fixable. You might discover a whole new direction. Take control, and build on your strengths. Volunteer for more opportunities to show off those solid skills.
You are not fated to failure
We are not destined to fail. We can transform year-end mistakes into new directions.
Of all the characters Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a., Dr. Seuss) developed in his beloved books, it was in the Grinch that he found himself. His inner Grinch was his best self.
“I got hung up on how to get the Grinch out of the mess,” he explained once of his writing process. Then “finally in desperation…without making any statement whatever, I showed the Grinch and the Whos together at the table.” He let the Grinch see it all from a different point of view. His mess became redemption and failure became an opportunity.
As one version or the other of your Grinch rears his head at year-end, welcome him in. He is not of a small heart or small character or ideas. Your true Grinch is not destined to fail, no matter the year-end mistakes. He has but one thing he teaches best — that we are our own best chance if we welcome opportunity amidst calamity.
by: Lucien Campillo, Chief Integration Officer
About Lucien: Local Tampa guy who spent most of his adult life in the US Army and returned home. He retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel with a passion to help his fellow Veterans as an active member in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Tampa Bay Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Association. He has lived all over the world and actually settled down in Hawaii but the draw of Tampa and the Bucs lured him home. He joined the Solution Publishing gang to be on the leading edge of the B2B data transformation.