Ordinarily, the term “failure” is a negative term. So, in this lesson I will like to give it entirely a different meaning all together because, the word has been misused very much therefor, bringing un-necessary grief and hardship to millions of people.
That which is looked upon as failure is what I will like us to call “temporary defeat” for now. And one hardest thing in life is to know when to move on or keep going.
On the other side, perseverance is one thing needed for success in life. Anyone who mastered the secret of going ahead even when it seems life is unbearable is going to make success in no long distance time.
Assuming you want to build a successful business, loving marriage or learn a new skill then “sticking with it” is perhaps the most valuable trait to possess on earth for your success to come through.
Remember, telling someone never to give up is a terrible advice I have learned not to give. Successful people quit all the time, they give up, they revise, and they adjust.
For example, if something is not working, smart guys do not repeat it endlessly. You can still recall this saying which says that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Life requires enough strategy, many a times many things do not work out the way we prepare or assume it could work out. And the most important question is to know when to continue or quit and re-think.
Then, one way to answer this question is to use a planned workable schedule I called the 3 phases or stages of failure and they are thus: ----
The sketch at the top picture helps break-down challenges into three phases (stages) of failure:
1. Phase (stage) 1 = failure of TACTICS (HOW failure).
This occurs mostly when you fail to build robust systems, forgetting to measure carefully and get lazy over organizing issue. This is a failure to execute a good plan and go with robust vision. This is HOW failure.
2. Phase (stage) 2 = failure of STRATEGY (WHAT failure).
When you follow strategy that fails to deliver the result you want, this kind of failure emanates. Definitely you can know WHY and HOW you do a thing you do but, may not know WHAT makes it a failure. This is WHAT failure.
3. Phase (stage) 3 = failure of VISION (WHY failure).
Setting a clear direction for you is what matters here. When you fail in this aspect and follow a vision that do not fulfill whom you are or failed to understand why you do the things you do, this failure is likely to occur in your life. These are WHY mistakes.
The rest of the article is going to contain stories, solution, and summary for each stage of failure. I hope that each phase (stage) of failure will be a foot-note to help you strategize on where to hang your process of deciding. It seems not to be perfect but I know you will find it very useful.
I will be using foreign stories here; I hope I am not criticized so far I make my expression so simple to understand, my usual way of writing is, no heavy vocabularies. So, let us get down.
PHASE 1: a failure of tactics (HOW):
A man named Sam Carpenter in 1984 became a small business owner, using a $5,000.00 as a down payment, this man purchased a struggling business in Bend, Oregon and renamed it Centratel.
The aim of this business is to provide telephone answering services 24/7 to doctors, and other business men who could not afford to pay the service of a telephone answering servant. He expects that centratel could be the highest telephone answering service in America.
But, unfortunately it did not work out as Sam planned so, in 2012 interview; here is what Sam has to say about his business:
“I was literally working 80 to 100 hours a week for 15 years. I was a single parent of two kids, believe it or not. I was very sick. I was on all kinds of antidepressants and so forth…
I was going to miss a payroll and lose my entire company. If you can just imagine a nervous wreck, physical wreck, and then multiply that by ten, that is what I was. It was a horrible time.”
What do you think was his problem here? To me, Carpenter lacked the system he could use to make things work. That is why he continues to lament by saying:
“We were having all kinds of problems because everybody was doing it the way that they thought was best.”
Latter, this humble man reasoned he could perfect his system, over the next two years; he recorded and revised every process in the company. Everything starting from how to make payment, how to present sales, client invoices were made to be in a manual that every employee could follow for any procedure that concerns the company.
What do you think happened after this process?
Everything changed for good, his work week decreased from 100hrs per week to 10hrs per week. Carpenter was no longer needed to perform almost every event because everybody in the company has a procedure to follow.
So, this made centratel to raise their prices because the quality of their work increased and today, their profit margin exploded to 40% and has grown to nearly 60 employees and have just celebrated their 30th birthday anniversary and now Carpenter works only two hours per week.
HOW TO FIX FAILURE OF TACTICS
This is a HOW failure, using the case on centratel, they have the strategy (WHAT) (the market place is bumming for telephone service) and the vision(WHY) to be the highest telephone answering service in America but lacked the HOW process to make it work.
Here are three primary ways to fix the failure of tactics (HOW):
1. keep record of your process
2. always measure your outcomes
3. your tactics should be reviewed and adjusted
KEEP RECORD OF YOUR PROCESS: whether you are running a business or parenting a family, it is always a good idea to follow a routine when working to avoid getting dis-organized. Create list of events to follow and make sure you follow it by order of priority.
ALWAYS MEASURE YOUR OUTCOMES: what do you do to something important to you? I guess you measure and take record of it. If you are a writer measure the content of article you write. Assuming you are a weightlifter measure how many times you do a count in exercise, If you do not measure, how could you know if a tactics is working or not.
YOUR TACTICS SHOULD BE REVIEWED AND ADJUSTED: do you know that successful people always review tactics that do not keep their strategy and vision going and make move to drop them?
The phase 1 failure do not stop, always review your tactics because, the one that works today may not work tomorrow and the one that works yesterday may become obsolete today.
PHASE 2 failure of strategy (WHAT):
Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon.com and in 1999 he wanted to attach a platform that will compete with eBay by selling virtually anything online by auction. This new service is called Amazon auction.
All workers were pulled-off their project and this is like a herculean project, the entire Auctions site, with all the features of eBay and more, was built from scratch. It was designed, architected, developed, tested, and launched in under three months.
Just six months after lunch, it was a speculated failure and they realized it on time decided to re-lunch another platform called; Amazon zShops this idea was for everybody to set-up a small store and sell their products through amazon.
Again, amazon swung into a mightier failure the second time, neither amazon zShops nor amazon auction worked which made Bezos to lament and say: “I have made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions.”
In 2000, another idea was on top to create a platform where a seller will place a used item alongside amazon new item. E.g., a small book store could place a used book alongside amazon new book and the idea spark-up the market place and in 2015, Amazon Marketplace accounted for nearly 50 percent of the $107 billion in sales on Amazon.com
HOW TO FIX FAILURE OF STRATEGY (WHAT failure)
This is a WHAT failure, in the case of amazon, the WHY (vision) and HOW (tactics) failure were handled but the STRATEGY (what) failed amazon.
Here are three primary ways to fix the failure of strategy (WHAT):
1. be fast in lunching your idea
2. let it be cheap
3. do revise quickly
BE FAST IN LUNCHING YOUR IDEA:
Nobody knows if an idea will work or not, not even the venture capitalists or the gurus in amazon, the advice is to lunch it quickly.
The only secret to know if an idea is workable is to lunch your idea as fast as you could to the people.
That is why I love Paul Graham take on this when he said: “You have not really started working on [your idea] till you have launched.”
LET IT BE CHEAP:
Having invested more time and money on a particular idea makes it hard to let go so, in lunching your idea, always form the habit of making it look cheap and affordable so that you can be able to let go when matters arises and focus on a whole lot of new ideas that proves worthy.
Bad business ideas, toxic relationships, and destructive habits of all kinds can be hard to let go once they become part of your identity.
DO REVISE QUICKLY:
Be informed that strategies are meant to be revised, you hardly see successful people who do exactly what they did when starting. No artist, entrepreneur, writer ever is doing what they did when starting.
Taking myself as an example, I started as an internet marketer, entered into blogging from there became a web programmer and a career and talent innovator on issoj.
Do not belong to the kind of people that thinks that if their love relationship is bad they will never find another loved one. I see too many artists that think that, if their first album do not make wave they do not get the talent. No, revise your strategy and bounce back.
Ok! Imagine if the forces of nature works the way most people thinks, we all would have been a single celled animal, but mother nature kept revising, iterating until we saw ourselves to this extent through changes.
If your original idea is a failure, revise, and make adjustment because, this is how the world works. You do not have it all in one step of idea.
PHASE 3 failure of vision (WHY):
Using myself as an illustration in this kind of failure, I was born in a family of educators who wanted me to go to school and acquire certification and become a civil servant like they did.
Did I do so? Yes! I did, I went to school and acquired all level of education starting from basic to professional level. But what do you think happened during my first study in the tertiary institution?
My scope changed, my mentality started propelling towards the means of becoming an entrepreneur other than what my parents wanted from me.
The worst thing is that, those years I was deviated from the vision of where my talent faces. I was told to go school, acquire good grade and get a job like most parents do to their children.
So, after my study I wasted years trying to figure out where I belong to. At early 2000 I met a lot of entrepreneurs both physically and online and my scope changed.
Today, I redirected my vision (WHY FAILURE) to what really I could be willing to do and be rest-assured that I am focusing on the right direction that could determine my future tomorrow without going back.
Here are three primary ways to fix the failure of vision (WHY):
This is a WHY failure and happens because you do not follow the right vision (YOUR WHY) patterning what you want to be or wanted in life.
The three primary ways to fix the WHY failure;
1. take inventory of your life
2. you have to determine your non-negotiable
3. Try to navigate criticism
TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR LIFE:
Many people do not care to take note of their vision in life, they prefer taking life as it is. In theory, that sounds ok but in practice it is a waste of time and an elusive idea to take life as you see it.
“Note this, if you never decide on a vision for yourself you will find yourself living another person vision”
Like I did over the years, I followed my parents and their vision, went to various schools and almost became a civil servant as they did but, the whole idea did not favor me, not until I started living my own dream and vision.
Adopting someone else vision as your own—whether it be from family, friends, celebrities, your boss, or society as a whole—is unlikely to lead to your personal dream.
So, you need to align your identity and habits.
YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLE:
Your “non-negotiable” is that which you are not willing to budge (change) for any reason. You should be determined not to change your opinion towards your vision because; your vision is quite different from your idea. It is non-negotiable.
If your vision is to be an entrepreneur then there are many ideas you could use to reach this vision.
One mistake that kills a great vision is when you failed on a particular idea and felt is the end of your vision and you cannot make a swift move again. You have just failed on a particular idea not on an entire vision; there could be all other means to actualize the same vision.
TRY TO NAVIGATE CRITICISM:
You do not have to apologize for the things you loved but, you have to learn how to deal with haters. Criticism is crucial to each and every one of us most especially when you are struggling on your own to make ends meet. People must always talk.
But, who are you if people do not talk about you?, Which means you are nothing and you do not have any value in life to be talked about, Listen dear, learn how to navigate pass criticism and most importantly, learn “how to deal with haters.”
THERE IS THE FOURTH STAGE OF FAILURE; guess what it is?
This is the FAILURE OF OPPORTUNITY, this kind of failure results based on environment and privileges with a particular country or community. Bad government constitute largely to this taking Nigeria for instance.
There are people in America whom most Nigerians are more intelligent than, numerous of them over there. But, they seem to be more successful than their counter-parts in Nigeria.
This kind of failure requires a whole range of topic which we are going to do something to treat about with time. And this kind of failure has solution which can be obtained through individuals and as a society to reduce them.
However, I chose not to focus on them here because Failures of Opportunity are difficult to influence. Meanwhile, your vision, your strategy, and your tactics are all things you can directly take control of.
FINAL NOTE ON FAILURE
You might not be walking on the wrong path, but it could be you were unable to differentiate between the failure of tactics, strategy and vision from one another.
May be there is so much dust swirling around you that you cannot truly figure out the path. Please!, try to figure out the right tactics and strategy –- find a way to clear the dust--- and you will definitely find out that the vision most times reveals itself to people.
See you next time!
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