Mel Savage Executive Coaching
The Highly Valued Leader Podcast - Building Your Brand

Episode 62 – Managing Failure At Work

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Episode 62 - Managing Failure At Work

Embracing failure as an essential component of success often goes unnoticed, yet it significantly impacts personal growth.

The fear of failure can paralyze progress and deter potential. This apprehension is particularly prominent at work, where failure can carry negative consequences. Despite this dilemma, it’s essential to cultivate a space for failure in order to innovate and flourish.

In this episode, we delve into the art of managing failure at work. You’ll transform from someone apprehensive about mistakes to someone who navigates the landscape of failure adeptly.

Discover strategies for handling small failures, effectively managing expectations before taking significant risks, and maintaining a resilient mindset throughout the process.

By establishing a safe environment for failure, your personal and professional growth is no longer hindered by adverse reactions. Instead, you’ll thrive, innovate, and sidestep external obstacles on your path to success.

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Welcome back, my friends to The Career Reset podcast. I’m your host, Mel Savage. I’m so happy to have you here. 

Today, we’re talking about managing failure at work. It’s super fun, I can’t wait to talk about it with you. I have talked about failure a lot on this podcast because it is so integral to our success. And of course, it’s one of the things that holds people back the most. Even you high-potential people out there who are used to taking chances and pushing yourselves. Still, failure can get in your way. 

So many of my clients talk to me about it, and I deal with it. When failures are on the line, I’m like, it’s harder to push myself through it. I really have to do my mindset management work to get through it. But I think in an office environment, it is really critical to not only learn how to manage your mind around failure but also learn to manage your organization around failure. 

I talked a lot in this podcast about how to manage your mind, how to think about failure differently, and how to allow yourself space to fail for yourself. But how do you manage it inside the organization? And that’s not something I’ve talked about before. I don’t think on this podcast. I talked about it with my clients. We talked through specifically in the organization what they can do. 

But today, I’m going to talk generally, about how to manage failure inside your organization so that you have the space to fail. I want to teach you to fail safely at work, basically. That’s it. Teach you to fail safely at work and use failure so that basically, you can use failure as a tool for growth versus playing it safe and using failure as a tool to stagnate your own growth.

We don’t want anyone to stagnate your own growth because you are high-potential people. You have a lot of ambition, you have a lot of skills, and you have a lot of drive. And even still, you can use that against yourself sometimes. So we want to get that out of the way and help you manage failure as much as possible. Because if you think about why we even want to talk about this, we need failure to be successful. We need failure to grow. But so often, we are afraid to fail. 

Because in a lot of corporate cultures, we think and you might think and it might be true. Who knows? I don’t know. Everyone’s corporate culture is different, like the one at McDonald’s, they did not love failure. Let’s just say that. You had to be really careful about how you did it. And you had to really, really manage the organization. I’m not saying they didn’t leave space for people to fail. But if you wanted to do something, you needed to manage and create the space for yourself. 

So often, we believe that we’re not allowed to fail. We’re not allowed to make a mistake at work. Everybody was going to freak out if I did something wrong. Everyone was going to freak out if I made a mistake. And I don’t want to be that person that everyone’s pointing at and looking at and blaming when something goes wrong, because that’s what people do. They look to blame someone. If you’re the person that’s being blamed, it can affect your reputation. It could hurt your brand. It could have people look at you differently depending on the size of the failure. It might even just be for a day or two days, but people get so afraid of that. How people might judge them, and how it might have impacted their reputation.

Sometimes in some organizations, if you’ve been there a long time, if you’ve made the same mistake enough times, you get labeled. You get some tape. People have old tape or, Mel’s just like this. That’s Mel. That’s her MO, basically. People get afraid of getting labeled because once you have tape, I call it tape, like this old tape, maybe that might not translate for you youngsters out there, I’m very old; but basically, people have this perception, this tape running in their minds about what they think about you. And sometimes once they’ve made that judgment, it’s hard to change. 

If you pick it, you get worried about, Oh, I don’t want to create this tape. So all those things are playing in your mind when you’re thinking about doing something that might put failure on the line. You worry about what everyone else is going to think about you. And you think that you need to play it safe, and play in the lines and be perfect. And it’s stressful. It’s stressful walking that line between being innovative, pushing your thinking, making the business better, managing reputation, allowing space for failure, and allowing space for growth, not just for you, but sometimes even for your team. 

You want to give your team the space to fail. And your stakeholders around you are like, I don’t want anyone to fail so maybe you shouldn’t be giving your team space to fail. But you know that it’s the right thing to do as a leader. You just need to figure out how to do it effectively. So that’s really what we’re talking about today. And what’s really interesting to me is as I was kind of putting my notes together for this podcast, I actually wanted to Google an antonym for growth. What’s the opposite of growth? 

So I went into Google as I do for everything that I do. And I put in the opposite of growth or antonym for growth. And you know what came up? Failure was one of the words that came up as the opposite of growth. And I think that is such bullshit. Bullshit. You cannot grow without failure. In fact, failure is the mechanism of growth, as far as I’m concerned. It just depends on how you handle it. 

If you’re someone who is failing, and then putting your head in the sand and hiding and beating the crap out of yourself, you’re probably not going to get a lot of growth from that. But if you fail, and then you look at that, and you go, what happened there? What do I want to do differently? What would I do differently? How am I going to learn from this? I don’t want to make the same failure twice, basically. Then yes, you’re growing. That is the mechanism of growth.

I don’t know who’s listening. Google? I don’t think Google’s listening, although maybe they listened to everything. Isn’t everyone listening to all of us all the time now? So Facebook, and Google, if you’re listening to me, covertly, I think you need to change that. Failure is not the opposite of growth. If you want to grow faster and enjoy your job, which is the whole impetus for everything that I do, I want you to grow faster, and enjoy your job, then you need to learn to fail effectively. 

By doing that, that’s going to help you remove barriers. Remove barriers to thinking big, because if you can fail, if you learn to fail effectively, then you can create the space to allow yourself to do that. It’s also going to help you feel more confident. Because if you are learning to fail effectively, which is what I’m going to talk about today, three ideas for you to help you fail effectively, then it’s going to help you feel more confident because you’re not going to be beating yourself up as much every time you fail. And if you’re doing it right, you’re failing a lot. 

If you beat yourself up after every time you fail, you’re going to be miserable. You don’t want to be miserable. You want to use that failure as a tool to help you build your confidence. When you learn to fail effectively, you don’t let all of everyone else’s drama get in your way so you’ll take accountability for failure. When I say accountability, accountability for failure, I don’t mean putting your hand up and saying, This was me. I did it my bad. You take accountability for how you feel about it. Take accountability for learning from it but you don’t make any excuses and you don’t let other people’s bullshit drama judgments, whatever, get in your way. 

If you’re doing this well, consistently, then people are going to trust you. It sort of builds on itself. There’s the terminology for that, but I just can’t think of it right now. But it builds on itself the more you create space for failure, and manage it effectively no matter what happens after the fact. The more you get trusted, the more space you get from people faster to allow you to fail more often, which helps you grow and come up with the big ideas and bring the big thinking into your organization or into your team or whatever it is. It even allows you to be a better leader because you can allow your team to have a space to fail. 

So learning to manage failure in your organization is so important in terms of making sure that you can grow because failure is the seed for that, and also enjoying your job. Because it’s boring coloring in the lines all the time. You want to let that big brain of yours grow. Loving your job is so important and allowing your brain to think is a big part of that. 

My whole MO, my whole reason for being is to help you be great at what you’re doing and love it as well. And sometimes, you might have high potential, and you might be great at your job, but sometimes we get stuck and do not love it anymore, for lots of different reasons. It could be you all of a sudden, don’t think you’re as good as you used to be, you’re not accelerating in your role as much as fast as you used to, maybe there are some external factors like bosses or something in your role, or a restructure, or whatever that’s getting in your way of you loving your job. 

And I want you to love your job because it’s really important that you enjoy it if you’re going to be great at it. A lot of times we think, Oh, I don’t love this anymore, I’m going to go find this other thing. No. I want you to be great at the current job that you have. I want you to love the current job that you have so that when you do decide to move organizations, or whatever it is, you’re doing it from a place of empowerment, not a place of scarcity or I hate where I am, I need to run away from this thing right now. 

Let’s talk a bit back to failure. The love and the failure. I love the whole expansive emotions that we go through on this podcast. I just want you to know that as we go into this, I really get it. I have worked in an organization, several, but certainly, when I worked at McDonald’s, it was a fast-paced environment full of deadlines. I was in marketing. 

On top of that marketing, we’re just like the deadline department, basically. But McDonald’s was fast-paced, and they had a lot of big initiatives. We had a lot of deadlines we needed to hit. And people in those environments, when it’s fast-paced with a lot of deadlines, and you got to get stuff done, they don’t always have each other’s backs. A lot of stuff goes wrong when you’re working that fast in a big organization. A lot of stuff goes wrong and people don’t always have each other’s backs. They’re looking for scapegoats. They don’t want to be the one who’s wrong. 

I get that because not only was I afraid of being wrong a lot of the time, but I also didn’t want to be the one who was wrong. And I have blamed others to protect myself. I’m ashamed to admit it. But there it is. I think a lot of people have for the wrong reasons. And also, I have learned to manage organizations to allow space for failure. I have to tell you, it is way more effective to manage the organization to allow for the space to fail, versus watching your back and blaming others. Not a fun way to be at work. You’re not going to love your job if you’re always trying to watch your back. 

If you’re someone, let’s say, who has ideas, but you don’t feel safe sharing them or you don’t feel safe pushing the envelope because you’re afraid of repercussions, and because of that, you’re not actually allowing yourself to do the best work and you’re blaming the company’s culture, like, I’m not allowed to fail here. I can’t be truly great because I can’t fail here, I have to color in the lines. I want to transform you from someone like that because you have more potential than that. And I want to really help you become someone who is always showing up at their best, recognizing the risks, and creating the space for failure so that you can really unleash those big ideas that are in your head. Drive innovation forward in your organization. 

I heard Brené Brown talk about this, too. It’s like I consumed so much of her stuff so I don’t really know exactly which thing it was that I was listening to. But the whole idea is, that corporate organizations approach her and ask her to help them instill innovative thinking and creativity into their culture, into their organization. But at the same time, they have all these rules and boundaries around what people can and cannot do. One of her big frustrations was you can’t create a culture of creative thinking and innovation when you don’t allow people the space to think. So she helps organizations broaden their thinking. 

It might be that your organization doesn’t allow you space to think but don’t let that stop you. You need to learn how to create your own space until the organization catches up with you. Because if you wait for them, you’re going to be waiting forever, sister. You really need to, while they’re figuring it out, create your own space to allow you to implement new thinking, and you’re not going to be able to do it every single time. But that does not mean that you should not try to do it all the time. 

We’re going to flip the script on what failure means to you, and how it looks in your organization for you. I’m going to talk about three different areas where you can manage failure, how to manage small failures, and how to set the tone for those small failures. And we can talk about what small failures are different for everybody. But we’re talking about what that looks like. I’m going to talk about how to manage big risks in an organization. And then, we’re going to talk about you, yourself, and how to have your own back. I cannot leave this podcast without talking about your mindset. Because that’s where I’m at. That’s my thing. That’s what we’re covering.

I want to talk first about the small failures. Small failures are different for everybody. Different organizations have different expectations, but I would consider them things like not delivering something on time, forgetting to do something, and forgetting about a meeting. It happened to me a lot. I had so many meetings, I forgot which meetings I needed to go to all the time even though they were on my calendar. I looked at it five seconds ago. That’s how much was going on. It could be anything like giving up information you weren’t supposed to in a meeting, or little things like that, like just little bumps in the road, basically, along the way. Or the meeting didn’t go well, whatever it is. I consider those small failures. 

Those are things for me that you cannot predict ahead of time. They just sort of happen. You’re a human being. Shit happens. Maybe you didn’t think about something you’re supposed to think about. These are small failures. For me, the line is, you couldn’t predict it. It just happened. Because you couldn’t predict it, you need to manage it on the back end. That’s kind of what I consider a small failure. All right. And the problem with making small failures is if you’re in a place, and I’m going to kind of go to the worst case scenario, not all places are like this, but a lot of the time, people will jump on every little mistake. 

If you’re working in a fear-based culture, which a lot of corporate organizations are, and I don’t know, I haven’t worked in corporate in the era of COVID, and now everybody is virtual. Actually, I just started talking to my friends a little bit about that in terms of understanding how the fear-based cultures have evolved in those organizations during this time. But still, I have to believe that that’s still an underlying challenge. It’s that people go, Not me.
Not it. It wasn’t me. It was this person. She forgot to deliver this and that’s why I’m late.
And all of that kind of stuff.

People like to jump on every little mistake because if they can distract and point the finger somewhere else and point the blame somewhere else, it just takes the spotlight off them. And in a fear-based culture, you do not want the spotlight on you, unless it’s for a good thing. The idea with a small failure and the goal of managing a small failure after the fact is not to get caught up in pointing fingers or worrying about your brand and being labeled. You can still distract without pointing a finger. You can still manage the tone and set the tone around your ‘failure’ without being afraid, without worrying about what everyone thinks, and without passing the buck, basically. 

I think the best way, the quickest way to explain what that might look like is, if you remember that little game you would play when you were a kid called Simon Says. I don’t know the origin story of that game and I’m afraid to know because it might be shitty and come from a bad place. Many of those little kid games came from a bad place. But if it does, I apologize for using it. 

But that little game, Simon Says, and we’d say, Simon says touch your nose, then everyone would touch their noses. When Simon says touch your head, everyone would touch their heads. Someone, the leader, would tell people what to do. Then if someone made a mistake, I don’t remember what happened. Did they get kicked out of the game? That’s the best metaphor as part of this example. But what I want to say here is people will do what you tell them to do. If you set the tone for how to think about what happened, other people will think that, too, to a large degree. 

So think about Simon Says. If you touch your nose, everyone has to touch their nose. That’s kind of what I’m talking about here. You don’t want to over-dramatize this thing, this mistake, if you can. Let’s say, you forgot to give something, you want to sort of say, Oh, yeah. I forgot to give it. I’m getting that to you. Here’s why. No problem. I got this. Here’s how we’re going to fix it. You just keep moving. 

The more you’re like, Oh my god, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I did that. That’s so not like me. I would never do that again. And I know I totally screwed up everybody’s day because I did that. The more you’re like that, not only are you taking accountability, which is important to take accountability, but you’re so overly apologetic and reinforcing what you did screwed up everybody’s day, which does not need to happen because you’re a human being, everybody forgets shit. Everybody does stuff. Not perfectly all the time. But people will take the lead from you. 

So just play Simon Says. Set the tone. The mistake happened. Yeah, I got this. Here’s how I’m going to fix it. Let’s move on. You just lead. I’m going to say you lead the emotional tone for the mistake. Don’t let everyone else’s need for drama drive you to create it. You just need to take the emotion right out of it. Keep it neutral. It’s just a thing. It’s just a bump in the road. Here’s what happened. Here’s what I’m doing about it. Let’s move on. Period.

Even if someone’s like, Oh, but you screwed this up, and now I can’t do this, this and this… Just say, How do you want to handle it? How do you want to move forward? Because bitching about it is not helping. I’m not saying to say it that way. But sitting there and lamenting about how and what went wrong is now going to cascade all these other wrong things doesn’t help. Let’s just fix it and move on. 

I think it’s more how you set the tone. If you set the tone as being in a neutral place, like a very process-driven, neutral type of emotion; so it’s like, This happened. I got it. We’re fixing it. Let’s move on. Done. And then you don’t worry about it anymore. You let it go and the more you let it go, the more everyone else is letting it go. That’s the Simon Says part. You let it go, everyone else that’s a go. You create a neutral emotion, everyone else feels neutral, too. You’re just creating that influence. 

And if people start feeding you drama and try to make it dramatic, you shut that shit down. The more you do that, the more other people move on, too. I hesitate to use this example, too but politicians act that way all the time, except I don’t want you to be slimy like a politician. Politicians are always deflecting like, they make a mistake and they’re like, Yeah. Well, that wasn’t a mistake. They talk about it like it wasn’t a mistake. 

I’m not saying do that. Just own it. But you don’t have to make it like the biggest frickin drama of the day, either. You can just say like, Yeah, that happened. And here’s what we’re doing about it. And move on. Don’t let the press, if you will make it a bigger drama and propaganda and use it against you. Just like, Now this happened. We’re fixing it. Move on. 

I remember Justin Trudeau, who’s our prime minister here. There’s a big issue with the vaccines because the US isn’t sharing vaccines right now. I get it. They want to vaccinate their own people and Europe, but Canada is not really part of Europe. So we’re not at the front of the line to get vaccines and so we were having trouble getting vaccines. 

Justin was like, Look, I can’t control manufacturing. I have ordered this many, this many, this many from all these places. So far, we’re not going to miss the deadline. We missed the deadline, we’ll deal with it. We’re doing everything we can. Let’s shut this shit down. And all the courts and the other politicians are looking for a little corner to tear at the opposition, obviously, as the politicians do. 

But at the end of the day, he’s like, Look, I’m not going to get dramatic about that. He didn’t say it this way. But his tone, his approach is I’m not getting dramatic. Here’s what’s happening. Here’s how we’re fixing it. Next story, please. That’s I kind of think the way you need to handle those things. Because you can’t control what you can’t control. The problem already happened. The mistake already happened. Move on. So that’s small failures, things that you have to manage after the fact. 

Then there are the bigger risks. These happen or things that you can manage ahead of time. You see the risk ahead of time, and you can manage it ahead of time. I call these bigger risks because these usually happen when you want to try something. If you have a big idea but there’s a risk involved, like you see a problem, or you have this project you know would be really great if you could do this. But so and so freak out. What if it goes wrong, and yada, yada, yada. All that kind of stuff comes up. And you’re like, Yeah, but if it worked out, it would be so good. 

I’m generalizing. Obviously, you need more than it would be so good as proof points when you’re trying to take big risks in organizations. But that’s kind of the thinking. You see the opportunity. You see where the creativity and innovation could come from. And the only thing holding people back is, will I get in trouble? Is this risk warranted? What will happen if it goes wrong? You see all of that. Your goal here is just to create some space for yourself to try new things. In order to do that, you need to manage the organization, and you need to stop taking no for an answer all the time, basically. 

Do you know what it reminds me of? It’s like those movies. There are so many movies like this, where you have those really eager reporters who keep pitching stories to the editor. And the editor keeps saying, No. Keep writing your stupid BS column about how to dress your dog for national holidays, or whatever it is stupid BS column they’re writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my doggies. For all the dog lovers out there, this isn’t a slant on dogs. Oh my god, I’m overly apologizing for people’s feelings. 

They keep trying. They keep coming forward to the editor. And then one day, they have a really good idea. They sell it and the editor says run with it. And I kind of think that’s a little bit of what I’m talking about here. That’s the sort of tenacity that you need. Because maybe the first time or the second time or the third time, your company is not going to say yes. First of all, I never take the first no. I’ll keep going a couple of times until they really say no. But even still, this one didn’t fly, I can’t take this risk. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try the next time again. 

So there’s that tenacity that needs to come forward with it. But there’s also building a case. There’s also like, Look, I want to do this thing. Here’s the benefits of it. Here’s what could happen. Here’s the upside. Sometimes you have to actually quantify the upside, depending on what the idea is, what the organizational structures are like, or who you’re talking to. Sometimes you just need to build a story or help people see the vision of what the upside could be. And then you point out the problems. And then you talk about how you would manage those problems if they come up. Or you talk about, here’s the line we would draw. If we come here and we see this happening, we’ll pull the plug. But if it’s not happening, we’re going to keep moving forward. 

You’re talking about the vision, the upside. You talk about the potential downsides, how you’re going to manage them, and where your failsafe is going to be. And then you talk about the engagement strategy, meaning how will you keep them informed every single step of the way? So, Yes, boss, and boss’s boss, and whomever I need to talk to. Here’s the upside, here’s the downside management strategy, let’s call it, and then here’s my engagement strategy, you’re going to get weekly updates. I’m going to let you know what’s going on. I’m going to tell you where the trends are going. I’m going to bring on this person from business planning and insights or research or whatever to go with me on this. 

You bring the solutions to them. You make the space for yourself. And does it take extra work? Yes. Yes, it totally does. But what needs to happen is, if you want to come up with your ideas, sometimes you have to do that. The more you do that, and the more you deliver on what you say you’re going to deliver whether you actually create the vision, or you pull the plug, or you let people see that you are someone who can safely create space for new ideas and creative innovation. And you do what you say you’re going to do. 

Every time you get a bit further, people are going to trust you more, one and two, you get to actually do things that are fun. You actually get to do things that you enjoy. You actually get to be innovative and creative, which is what really sparks most of the joy in people’s jobs. You get to do all of those things for yourself. And you get to show your leadership. 

It’s so important to, one – don’t take the first No. Keep trying over and over until you get a yes, eventually. And when you get a yes, in the process of getting the yes, you want to make sure that you are creating the vision, showing the downside and how you would manage it, and where your fail-safes are. That sort of thing. And you have a strong communication strategy around it and an engagement strategy to help other people know where it’s at. Because the best way to keep people off your back is to let them know what’s going on. 

I coach people all the time, who are like, Oh, my boss is always on me and wants to know everything. The best way to get your boss off your back, tell them friggin everything. The more you tell them everything, the more they see that you’re managing it, and the less they’re on your back.  That’s the same concept here. 

The third thing I want to talk to you about is having your own back. The first one was how to manage the small failures after the fact. The second thing was how to manage the big risks ahead of time. Give yourself the space. And the third thing is having your own back. Having your own back. The problem with this is every time we fail, we beat the shit out of ourselves. A lot of the time, especially if you’re someone who’s a high-potential, high-performer, doesn’t want to make a mistake kind of person, who wants to be perfect all the time person, and I totally can relate to that person. But there’s a lot of downside with that. 

Because every time something goes wrong, and things always go wrong, you beat the crap out of yourself. And the turnaround on that, the recovery period on that takes a lot of space and a lot of time out of your life. You don’t need that shit. You need to recover faster–one and two–stop beating yourself up in the first place. The whole point of failing is to learn. The more you can treat failure as a thing, like it’s just a circumstance, it happened at process error, as I say in other podcasts, failure is just a failure in your process. And now you just need to fix that failure in the process. You can treat it dispassionately emotionally and functionally, if you will. It’s as if you were doing research as a scientist, the more you can treat it that way and we can learn from it, the faster you’re going to grow. 

There’s this great quote from Winston Churchill, which you’ve probably heard a million times, but I’m going to give it to you a million and one times. Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. That’s it. The best way to move from failure to failure is not to beat the crap out of yourself every time you fail. And the only reason to beat the crap out of yourself is that you’re worried about what other people are going to think, what this means about you, this is more proof that I’m not good enough at my job, I’m so weak. and this is really hard and yada, yada, yada, yada. 

I know all these things because I have said them to myself and I hear them all the time in my coaching sessions. It is a waste of your brilliance to be doing this. I want you to think about it that way. Beating the crap out of yourself, all that time your spending is a waste of your brilliance. You need to focus on fixing it and moving on. See point one. Small failures, set the tone, Simon Says. Have your own back. Just believe in yourself enough to know that you didn’t do it on purpose. Shit happens. You’re a human being. Let’s keep going. 

Failure is the key to your success. Listen to Winston Churchill. You don’t have to listen to me. Just move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. And what I do now is really just try to focus on what’s working. Because there’s always going to be stuff. If you are a high achiever, there’s always going to be stuff that’s not working, that you see is not working. And if you focus on that shit all the time, you’re not going to get anywhere. 

What I do every day in my journal is I focus on what’s working first. Here’s what happened today or whatever. I’m a journal junkie, I love journaling. Here’s what happened with a blog, here’s what’s working about what happened, here’s what I’m going to do differently tomorrow, or whenever. What’s working? What am I going to do differently? All the time. Not what went wrong? Sometimes I have to get all my negative drama out of my head like it’s still in there. But just because it’s in there doesn’t mean I have to listen to it. And that’s the process that we all go through. I still go through it.

I got to coach. I have lots of drama that I’m dealing with. We all have drama. Our brain is wired to create drama. It’s how you deal with the drama that separates you from all the other folks. And if you’ve worked with me, if you’re someone who’s listening to me, who’s worked with me in the past, you know that I was the queen of drama. So believe me, I know how it works. I have learned to manage the drama. So there you go. We can all learn it. If I can learn it, everybody can learn it. 

So key summaries and key takeaways I want you to have with this. Don’t blame the company for not risking failure. Don’t walk around saying failure is not an option around here. That’s bullshit. If you want to do something, you have to create the space and you have to set the tone. I want you to flip the script. Flip the script on what failure means to you. Small failures, set the tone after the fact. Play Simon Says. Set the tone. Be neutral. Just be process-oriented about it, being neutral and dispassionate. What happened? Zamp fixing it. Let’s move on, people. Big risks. This is like before. This is pre-managing the system around failure. You’re doing three things. You’re sharing the vision, helping people see the vision, whatever that looks like, even if it needs to be quantified. You are showing the downsides, talking about how you’re going to manage the downsides, where your failsafe is, where you’re pulling the plug, and your communication strategy around it. So people understand and they’re calm, and they know and they trust you. Those are the three things you do when you want to present your idea. But on top of that, you don’t take no for an answer. Keep trying. Be that annoying reporter who keeps asking until they get their yes. Finally, have your own back. Life is so much more fun. You’re going to get ahead faster and have more fun doing it when you have your own back, my friends.  

Next time you hear a voice in your head saying, I don’t want to risk failing. I’m too scared to fail. I better be safe about this, or should I fail, I better take accountability for this. I want you to stop and regroup. And if you’re worried about a failure that you’ve already made, I want you to ask yourself, How can I just minimize this and move on? And if you’re thinking about doing something that could create failure, and you’re like, I’m just going to walk away because no one’s ever going to say yes to doing this. I want you to ask yourself, is it worth it? Should you try? 

Don’t blame the company for the fact that they’re not creating space for you. Take accountability for it. Are you willing to create the space for yourself? Is this a situation where you’re willing to create the space for yourself? If the answer is no, it’s a no. That’s fine. That’s on you. If the answer is a yes, go after it, my friends. You can do it. I believe in you. 

I’ll talk to you next week. Bye for now.




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I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

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Mel Savage

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
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