Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education for the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, held an open master class at Lviv Business School of UCU and gave entrepreneurs some advice on how to overcome failure in business. Her tips will also come in handy in everyday life.
10 steps towards the right way to overcome failure:
1. There’s a strong connection between failure and success, so find it in the first place. Shauna believes that failures are the steps you must climb on the way to the top. In her opinion, we should be comforted by numerous human stories of failure starting with the biblical story of Adam and Eve.
2. Avoid the blame game. Going back to the story of Adam and Eve: the man blamed the woman, she pointed a finger of blame at the snake that had tempted her… If you take responsibility for your own failure instead, the experience of failing can be truly invaluable.
3. In case of failure, analyze all the factors that caused it. What was the response of your management? What conclusions did you make having experienced failure? Was the experience you had gained helpful in achieving success in the future? Having answered all these questions, you will get a holistic picture of the situation.
“It’s never late to learn from your own mistakes,” Shauna Tonkin.
4. Don’t hide from reality. Having rose-tinted glasses on won’t do your business any good. You should accept the fact that things might go wrong at times and there’s nothing bad about it. It’s just part of our reality. If you see and recognize challenges in time, you can avoid failure.
5. Reasons for failure can be worthy of either disapproval or praise. What is your case?
• lack of abilities;
• wrong process;
• complexity of the task;
• implementation challenges;
• hypothesis testing.
Worthy of praise
6. If you own up to your failure, you will create a positive image of a responsible person and foster an atmosphere of trust within your company. Business executives often don’t want to take responsibility for their failures as they are afraid to lose their face in front of the staff. This model of behavior usually has the opposite effect.
7. While developing strategies, identify ideas with a high risk of failure so that you are not caught off-guard later. Be realistic in your assessment of the feasibility of any strategy, especially if it’s very specialized and narrow in scope.
8. Try to understand whether your business failure was caused by a specific employee or the entire unit. Even of the entire unit is to be blamed, usually one of the employees owns it because of accountability.
9. We all are responsible for learning from our mistakes. Those who have experienced failure have a big advantage of having learned to spot and mitigate risks at early stages.
“If you have fallen and gained useful experience from the fall, it’s already a success,” Shauna Tonkin.
10. Failures inspire for an active search of opportunities to experiment, new solutions, and innovative ideas.
Experiment! Whoever makes mistakes makes attempts to achieve success. At the end of the day, success is a path from one failure to another without losing enthusiasm.