Ghostly Encounters… of the business kind.
Written by: Caroline Newns
For many, ‘Halloween’ is an opportunity for ghouls, gossamer and the generally grotesque… a light-hearted dalliance with themes of death, horror and the supernatural.
With ghostly encounters in mind, I am reminded of working with a client which had acquired so many skeletons they’d run out of cupboards.
The horrors, primarily around authority and planning, seeped out like fog sending a cold chill of fear and worry amongst employees.
Yet the chief Spectre in the Boardroom was the senior team’s perception of ‘Failure’.
There is no single definition of failure in the business world. By helping my client to remove the chains and shackles of outdated thinking, it became apparent to them that failure is not always bad. It often travels hand-in-hand with much-needed innovation and experimentation.
We introduced review processes… constructive, logical, future-focused analysis. Factors such as ‘intent’, ‘capability’ and ‘context’ were examined in our work together.
As a leader or senior manager, do ask yourself these questions:
- Do I genuinely seek to ‘learn from my mistakes’?
- Do I put mechanisms in place to encourage others to do likewise?
- Do I promote a ‘no blame’ culture and demonstrate this on a day-to-day basis?
- Is my employee time and capability invested in an organisation that brushes failure under the carpet?
- Do I have internal processes that objectively analyse the root cause of failure and how best to learn from it?
Our (generally) poor attitude towards failure and our inability to deal with it constructively, turns many an organisation into a ‘House of Horrors’.
So next time the skeleton of failure leaps out of your cupboard, face it confidently; put some flesh on the bones (and secure help to do so if necessary) then, in the spirit of Halloween, put a nail in the coffin and move on.