Celebrating your successes is important. That’s common knowledge, even if not put into practice often enough.
But studying your successes is the real game changing behavior that ensures more big wins to come.
Standard business models have taught us to learn from our mistakes. Unfortunately we’re not so well trained in taking the time to explore the often subtle details behind our big wins.
Most organizations I work with have learned to take the time to examine the particular issues and circumstances that contribute to failure or significant problems. This is often called a 'Post Mortem.’ It's a great idea and certainly companies that don't learn from their mistakes in a systematic way often make the same or similar mistakes again and again.
and discovery to your successes!!!
Create a ritual around discovering the “why” and “how” behind your most important victories.
We often talk about taking the time to celebrate a success. Its important to enjoy the fruits of your labors and bask in the positive atmosphere of accomplishment. And even that is difficult for many teams and organizations to do with consistency and dedication. For most businesses there’s a long list of things that need to get done and it takes discipline and forward thinking leadership to ensure that the team takes the time to recharge, take a deep collective breath, acknowledge the success and realign themselves for the next big challenge.
But the question that is rarely asked and answered is “Why and how did we achieve the success?” “What critical elements contributed to that achievement?”
In the world of adventure we often have the opportunity to examine our successes more than our failures. Why? Because the price of failure can unfortunately leave very few team members left standing to examine what went wrong. So we pay particular attention to studying and learning from the successful expeditions that put the team on top of the mountain. We can then repeat those winning strategies on our next peak challenge.
Some important areas of inquiry after a rousing success might be:
- Did particular teams or individuals collaborate in ways that they never have before?
- Did certain teams or team members make any sacrifices that led to a larger success?
- Did one form of leadership emerge that the teams resonated with particularly well?
- What were the winning strategies in approaching difficult communication challenges?
- Which of the team or company values were followed through on to such a degree that it made a significant difference in the outcome of the project?
- What allies did you rely on for critical support? How are you going to thank them?
- What is repeatable in regards to the team dynamics, personal relationships and individual contributions?
- What behaviors do you want to make sure you reward and support?
These are all questions that should be raised openly and in a structured manner after each big win. Bring all the players together to discuss winning strategies. This is best done face to face rather than through a survey or written assessment. It is through thoughtful questioning and discussion that the real “Ah-ha” discoveries come to light. Make this a routine and as normal a practice as the standard post mortem.
This won’t happen naturally! Especially in an ultra busy work environment where the next big project is breathing down your neck. You’ll need to purposefully set time aside for this ritual. If you’re not comfortable facilitating such a structured examination of the big learnings from your triumphs, you will want to bring in someone trained in mining for such nuggets of wisdom.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn, grow and re-apply your best internal practices!! The time is ripe just after a big success to ask such critical and revealing questions; the answers to which might just surprise you and offer a powerful template for future wins!
If nobody takes the time to ask and explore, those important gems of knowledge may just stay buried forever.