How to Handle Mistakes, Failures, and Losses

EBD Culture vol. 4

How to Handle Mistakes, Failures, and Losses

“It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lesson of failure.” — Bill Gates

When growing a business, some people don’t want to talk about the failures they’ve had along the way. The mistakes they’ve made. They view reliving the past as a waste of time. They don’t care and/or reflect on what or who they’ve affected along the way. They focus only on growth.

Today, we’re going to talk about the other way to handle mistakes and failure. Mistakes should be embraced. That’s how we learn! In writing monthly EBD culture blog posts, I tend to focus on moving ahead and creating leaders in the workplace. This month, I’m going to take a minute to pause, and reflect.

The Ripple Effect Of A Mistake

Recently, I was reminded of the importance of reflecting on failure. I thought it would be good to review this for anyone that wanted a better understanding of our culture at the EBD. We get it right most of the time. We’ve made a lot of good decisions over the years. The other times? Big mistakes. HUGE. GIGANTIC, mistakes. When I fail, I fail in a fury of flames.

I’ve been accused of living 110% or 0%. I am learning over time that my failures are no different than the way I typically live my life. When you’re a small business owner, you see your mistakes through a different lens. My mistakes don’t affect “just me,” or “just my family”, or even “just my friends”. My mistakes affect a staff of 35, their families, downtown businesses, and our community. The effect of making mistakes at this level is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

Protocol for EBD Mistakes, Failures, and Losses

  1. Preemptively know that mistakes are going to happen. I’m honest with our staff that I’m not always going to get it right.
  2. When a mistake occurs, be honest. You have to apologize and not simply just “move on.” You need to take a moment to reflect. What happened? What went wrong? What was a better option?
  3. Put into practice a routine or “speed bump” to deter the same mistake or failure from happening again.
  4. Grow from the mistake, but remember that just because you’re moving forward, doesn’t mean you should forget.

What I Do With Mistakes and How We Grow

Over the years, the EBD crew has learned that very few things are done without a serious amount of forethought. Our staff is sometimes hesitant to ask about decisions because they know they’ll probably receive a long, drawn-out, in depth, over the top, details-from-the-mind-of-Matt, answer.

Just because we’ve thoroughly thought through most decisions, big and small, doesn’t mean the EBD isn’t likely to still get some wrong. Over time I know there are effects the community and our staff have felt due to my mistakes/failures/losses. Those moments have been used as a time to pause and reflect in order to review the EBD business, culture, and process.

Simply put, the EBD is never done growing and developing. Failures are a very important role in that.

Remember what Bill Gates said, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lesson of failure.”

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