Making mistakes is part of life. And that goes for business, too. There is no company in the world that has never messed up, and even if there were, they would be odds-on to do so within a week. You learn nothing by having consistent success, and anyone that tells you otherwise is talking nonsense.
So, if you do make a major business mistake, don’t panic. It’s how you come back from it that counts more than the original foul up. Here’s a quick guide on some common mistakes – and how to learn from them.
If your business has hit the skids for a particular reason, don’t try and blame other people. Successful leaders take things on the chin and learn. There are lessons to be drawn from every single mistake, and you just won’t learn if you cannot acknowledge your part in them.
Fear Of Failure
If a part of your business is failing, it means you know exactly what you shouldn’t be doing. As you grow, you will come across many boundaries, and being prepared to fail will put you in a much greater position than expecting to succeed. Going through failure yourself will teach you way more than you can learn from some book by a business guru that has nothing to do with your industry.
Mistakes make you sit back and consider where you went wrong. It is this kind of analysis that will make you into a genuine expert in your field. It allows you to see exactly where, when, and how things have slipped and turns you into a problem solver.
The bigger your company grows, the more chance there will be of mistakes becoming unavoidable. Think about complicated and dangerous industries such as medicine, aerospace, and nuclear power. They all expect mistakes to happen – because, unfortunately, they just do – but prepare for any eventuality. The reason they can make preparations is because…all of those mistakes have happened before. Science as a whole is based on proving things wrong and discounting them. It’s making deliberate mistakes, in other words. Businesses can learn a lot from this process.
Not Leading By Example
If people see you, the leader, as acknowledging your mistakes, they are much more likely to do so themselves. This creates a much better learning culture in your company. Not only that, but it will help people be braver with their decisions and ideas. If there is a fear of failure, it is a real stifler of creativity. It is just added chains on top of what might already be a stressful job. Listen more to your employees and give them credit where it is due. And always accept responsibility when you have made a mistake.
Forgetting About Employee Needs
As a business owner, you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees. It’s vital that you take their personal situations into consideration. Be a better boss by encouraging communication and setting up absence management programmes to help those that need it. Create a healthy working environment and give your employees a chance to get fit. Give them training to foster their creativity. Do everything that you can for them and they will pay you back in spades.
Creating The Wrong Teams
Some people work better with others while some should be kept far apart. Learn about your employees personalities and choose your teams wisely. If you put clashing personalities together, it could lead to your project turning out as a failure. While the best people for the job might be your preferred option, it doesn’t always work that way, unfortunately. And sometimes the team that works well together will be far more successful.
You Listen To The Shouters
In business, people are taught to be extroverts. But extroverts don’t always make the best decisions. They are natural risk takers and while they can enjoy wild success, in the main they will go all in on a whim. The trouble is, it’s this kind of person that gets heard in meetings and at after-work drinks. Don’t forget the quiet people in the corner – just because they are quiet doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer. Give them an environment they feel comfortable in and draw out their thoughts. You may strike gold – and will certainly get a more considered response.
You Don’t Know Your Customers
Do you really know what your customers want? Are you analysing what they do, where they live and what they like? If not, you haven’t’ got a hope of communicating with them in an efficient way. You have to know your customers like you know your own family. Learn everything you can and speak to them in a language they understand and in ways that compel them to take action. If you don’t, you are missing out on the best opportunity you have for success.
You Think Your Customers Care
Your customers don’t care about you or your company. The only thing they want is a good deal for your products. They aren’t interested in being your brand champion on social media and don’t care what your office has got up to in the past week – unless it directly benefits them. Don’t waste your time chasing the hearts and minds of your customers. They have other concerns that take precedent – such as their friends, families and needs. Your brand – however big – means nothing to them in the long run.
Fear of failure is normal. But you should try and embrace failure and mistakes for what they truly are: learning experiences. The greatest brands and companies in the world all understand this. If you want your business to grow, innovate and challenge, then you should do the same.
We hope you have got a lot out of this article, and we are always keen to hear from you. Let us know how different mistakes have led to positive change in your workplace.