What Do You Do When You Fail?

…. You pick yourself up and try again.

I am not talking about life’s monumental failures. I am talking about the small things we fail at on a day to day basis.

I am reflecting about failure because last night Nick Coster, our trainer did a sh*t job presenting at Vivid Ideas. He had 60 seconds (pecha kucha style) to promote our upcoming event the Essential Steps to Creating Great Products & Services, and he flubbed it in front of the whole flotilla of Sydney journalists.

And this morning he is devastated. He feels embarrassed. His ego took a hammering because he is usually so good at presenting in front of a crowd. He feels that he has let the team down. And oh the list goes on.

Let’s face it, failure sucks! As much as some companies embrace the concept of failure as the ‘new black’, it genuinely sucks. Nobody wants to be friends with someone whose failed.

But, as Product Managers we fail at some level in some way most days. Our stakeholders didn’t think our Roadmap stacked up. We may be delayed launching a new feature. Our customers hate certain features. The market isn’t adopting our new product.

Instead of beating ourselves up, we need to:

  1. (For some) have a good cry.
  2. Acknowledge our failure.
  3. Learn from from our failure.
    In Nick’s case, the stage lights distracted him, he lost his train of thought and didn’t have time recover in the 60 seconds he had to speak. So for the next time, he knows to avoid looking into the stage lights because its distracting.
  4. Re-set and re-frame the failure. Don’t repeatedly play the situation over and over. It’ll ruin your day.
  5. Practice. You’ll only going to get better if you repeat the activity over and over again.

How do you deal with failure?

Product Management Training