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Bad things turbo-charge your business

Bad things that don’t destroy your business are a kind of turbo charge. These often appear as  “we didn’t know” moments, or “no one told me” or “we didn’t anticipate this”. If they don’t destroy your business, they move it forward faster than most self-initiated efforts.

Each time you have a setback or adverse situation come up, you have a very important choice: either you say “now we know” and just move on, or you create institutional knowledge and/or revised procedures that reduce or eliminate the likelihood of a recurrence. 

Imagine the poor medical staff at the hospital. The first time they amputated the wrong leg for that patient must have been just awful for everyone involved (except, perhaps, for the attorney that took the case). The opportunity to create a long-lasting “never again” type of system or process arose from the tragedy of the mistake. It likely propelled the hospital forward maybe faster than the voice of a “hey this could be a problem if we’re not careful” employee. Instead, it becomes a complete scramble and management flies in with a “how could this have happened” rage and disbelief.

Bad things are a kind of gift. They teach you about new areas that you may not have anticipated. They teach you about the importance of resilience, redundancy, conservative thinking. They make your organization smarter IF you decide it’s important enough to change. 

Exercise: notice the next bad thing and STOP your team from scrambling to resolve it. Try to peel away the eagerness to quickly resolve it and the anger of why it happened and instead say “we have an opportunity here” and then encourage LOTS of input, suggestions, innovation. Discourage blame, cover-your-ass “wasn’t me” defensiveness, and focus on how your team can grow from the experience.

Bad things can really turbo charge how your business grows and matures. What you do with these propelling opportunities is up to you.


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