January 15, 2018
Source: Electronics Representatives Association
by Walter E. Tobin, ERA CEO
No one wants to be associated with a loss or failure. We run away from it because we have been conditioned to be winners at all times and in all things.
At this time of year, we often take a pause to look back on the past year and reflect on what we did well, what we did not do well and what we failed to do. We also map out things that we want to do in the new year — our annual goals and business plans. It is often during these reflective moments that we “examine our conscience” and ask ourselves, “What role did I play in the accomplishments and failures of the past year?”
Did we take credit for the accomplishments and perhaps blame others for the failures? How much ownership did I/WE take in the whole bundle of successes/failures that our organizations realized in 2017?
There is a saying, “Success has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan.”
All of us want to be associated with success, to stand proudly in the winner’s circle, to be in the team picture when something great has been accomplished. No one wants to be associated with loss or failure. We run away from it because we have been conditioned to be winners at all times and in all things.
But is this possible? Of course not! There can be only ONE first place winner. Second place is the spot that all of us hate to be in. After all, who wants to be told, “Of all the losers, you came in first.”
Yet, we can still be winners without finishing first!
Many GREAT organizations experience failures throughout the year — missed deadlines, botched implementation plans, lost orders, lost customers, etc. The truly GREAT companies embrace their misses, failures if you will; they learn from them and implement a ready, fire, aim plan of attack; they recalibrate and try again.
If you never want to miss your target, never fire your weapon! But how is that helpful to getting anything done? It isn’t. It fosters a lack of decisiveness and complacency that is evident by all that you touch — either as a manager or a team member of your company. Your organization takes on the personality of its members, trust me! We all can think of organizations that fall into the category of non-risk takers, just marking time, getting along, safe …
How do any of us deal with setbacks or losses? What kind of self-examination will we give each other at year’s end? What grade will we give ourselves and our organizations on Dec. 31? How can we use the past experiences to help us all become a better organization/company in 2018? Are the goals that you had set out to accomplish in January 2017 even considered if/when you do year-end performance reviews? Do you even do annual performance reviews? Most companies don’t … sad.
ERA has had a GREAT 2017. Not a perfect 2017 by any means, but a GREAT year. Thanks to all of you — our valued members.
The staff and I are going to do our own ready, fire, aim analysis before year’s end. We will grade our overall performance as a team. (I bet we are all pretty close on how WE did!) I will then ask the staff to grade me on where I led and where I failed to lead. What do I need to work on for 2018? I hope their grade of me and my grade of myself are close. I will be sure to let you know.
Good luck in your own year-end “examination of your conscience.” It is good for the soul and great for your organization. Adopt the ready, fire, aim mentality. Benefit and learn from your experiences and mistakes, and use them to build an even better organization in 2018. Fire away!
Happy New Year!