Monday, December 5, 2016
Stop Calling It Failing
But you won't always. That goes without saying. They wouldn't be stretch goals if you were able to hit them 100% of the time. So what do you call it when things fall short? In the lexicon of goal setting, we often speak about achieving or failing. The goal was to grow membership by a net of 10 more members, and we're 12 higher than last year--so we achieved our goal. Or, we only grew by 8, so we failed.
Wait. What? You grew by "only" 8 more members, and you failed? How is growing the number of members in the association, regardless of how many, a failure? To my way of thinking, any increase in the direction of the goal is a success. Given the goal above, the only reasonable thing to call a failure would be a situation where the trend reversed itself. If you lost 8 members, that would be a failure. Even if you only gained 1 member, that would be some kind of success. You didn't achieve the goal, but you also didn't fail.
In innovation circles, we're often told that we musn't be afraid to fail. And I suppose that is true. But let's be careful about what we call failure and what we call success.
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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at email@example.com.