This might be a strange title for an article since I just released my book, ‘105 Ways to Accelerate Your Business Success’, but throughout all my advice and guidance, there is always one common thread… Learning.
“I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill
I love this quote by Winston Churchill because it so succinctly puts how entrepreneurs learn lessons in business through perceived failure. It’s not always fun to learn in business, it often comes through disappointment and setbacks, but it’s always valuable.
Failure teaches us resilience, tenacity, flexibility, adaptability and problem-solving. It also helps us improve ourselves as business owners and service providers, and improves our businesses for the people who are important to it.
Spotting opportunities to learn from mistakes in business
After the firefighting and fixes have been implemented, it’s important to officially recognise a moment to learn from a mistake in business.
A good time to look for learning opportunities is during your review, reflection, retrospective or wind down time.
At the end of the day
I use a daily journal to record my activities and connect them with my daily challenges. I use my journal to ask myself three questions: What went well? How did I celebrate it? What could be different or better the next time? This method helps me improve my communications, networking, marketing and other things that have a smaller impact on my processes and systems.
After 30, 60 and 90 days
People I work with are encouraged to create short increment plans, to help their goals stay time managed and attainable. At each review there is time allotted for planning ahead for the next period of time, but vitally, reflecting back on and discussing the past. If you can, bring your team and/or department heads into the meeting with you for a wider perspective and richer input on business activities.
Do you review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your business? Do you conduct SWOT reviews for your employees or subcontractors? What about your own SWOT review? This could form part of your half-year or annual business review which helps shape the larger business structures and strategies for the future.
Any conversations with a stakeholder provide learning opportunities should you choose to accept them. Their comments, suggestions and feedback all provide information for the review and reflection mentioned.
Every business activity has an outcome and provides an opportunity to review whether you would repeat it, never do again or make a tweak or change for the better. And, fostering a strong culture of learning within your business, no matter how many people are part of it, or whether it’s learning from failure or taking time to develop knowledge and skills, makes for a happier business.
In fact, “research from LinkedIn shows the impact a solid learning culture has on employees (including you):
- 47% less likely to be stressed
- 39% more likely to feel productive and successful
- 23% more able to take on additional responsibilities
- 21% more likely to feel confident and happy.
So, if you want to grow your business, learn from your own and other peoples mistakes and share the knowledge.