No Such Thing As Failure…

There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback, and it’s what we do with that feedback that ultimately decides how successful we will be.

When we fail we have 3 choices

  1. Quit
    We only truly fail when we quit.
  2. Ignore the feedback and try again.
    When we try again and ignore the feedback we are flirting with insanity, because to do something the same way and to expect different results is one of the definitions of madness.
  3. We can learn from our failure
    We can look to understand what caused our failure, and look to see what we can do differently.

One of the statistics I often quote on failure is that 80% of First-time Businesses fail within 18 months, which is a staggering degree of failure.

However the interesting part of that research is that 90% of Second-time Businesses are successful. That means of the people who look to use the feedback from their first failure, 9/10 will be successful which is extremely encouraging.

The sad part is that only 20% of those who fail actually try again.

Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time studying failures, looking to see if there are any common causes, or any patterns that we could learn from in order to be able to avoid the pitfalls that cause us to fail.

It was during that research that I noticed that there are 4 key reasons why people fail that crop up over and over again.

These are a lack of Focus, a lack of Accountability, a lack of Simplicity and a lack of Transparency.

By improving our performance in these areas we can put ourselves on the path to success.

Focus is about understanding what our objective is, knowing what success looks like. Too often people fail because they don’t have clarity over what they are trying to achieve which,if you have team, makes it difficult to communicate to your team what he goal is.

Accountability is about knowing who is going to do the work, and ensuring that they know it, that they have the right tools and right level of authority. If they don’t have that its difficult for people to take ownership of a task.

Simplicity is about how we are going to achieve their objective, and we need to keep this as simple as possible. People have a natural tendency to over complicate things and we must look to eradicate that, because when we make things more complex it can create confusion and impact our belief in our abilities to be successful.

Lastly, we have transparency. Transparency is about knowing what involved and having a clear indication of our performance. When we lack transparency it’s like driving without a speedometer, which makes it difficult to know whether we are going to fast and will run out of fuel, or too slow such that we will arrive late at our destination.

When you examine the top 20 of the causes of  business failure, you will see that they all fall into one of these 4 areas.

Top 20 reasons startup fail

There is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback.

The next time that you fail will you quit, feign madness or will you be part of the 20% that look to learn from their mistakes and give themselves a 90% chance of success?