How to Prepare for 7 Dangerous Failures

Everyone who focuses on failure becomes negative, unless they do something about it.

Successful leaders ask, “What could go wrong?”

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The most successful leaders fail successfully. But, leaders who don’t prepare for failure, end up failing.

Do something where failure matters.

7 dangerous failures:

  1. Disconnection. Over time you become disconnected with high performers. You don’t worry about them.
    • The failure of the person/team you trust the most hurts the most.
    • Reject arrogance that makes assumptions about performance.
    • Stop into meetings or offices for impromptu encouragement or debriefs. Ask, “What’s next,” or, “How can I help?”
  2. Complexity. Complexity is always a failure point.
    • Simplicity is about elimination. How might you eliminate or combine steps.
    • Break complexity into bite size pieces.
    • Work on simplifying. The path to complexity is the path of least resistance. Push against things like, we’ve always done it this way or we can handle it.
  3. New or inexperienced teammates.
    • Fail where it matters less.
    • Trust talent to rise up. Don’t hand-hold too long. Acceptable levels of stress result in high performance. But, too much stress makes people shut down.
    • Use mentors and training.
  4. Timing. When sequence and timing are essential to success…
    • Provide lead time.
    • Focus training on performing under time pressure.
    • Prepare and practice timing until it’s second nature.
  5. New procedures, systems, or products.
    • Assume things will go wrong.
    • Run pilot programs.
    • Practice.
  6. Technology.
    • Standardize.
    • Backup. Avoid single points of failure.
    • Create contingency plans. What happens when technology fails?
  7. High profile projects. When your work is highly visible, protect against every possible failure.
    • Clarify goals and expectations with higher-ups.
    • Communicate the priority of excellence. “I’m counting on everyone to bring their ‘A’ game.” Don’t come off as desperate.
    • Practice and create contingency plans. Know what to do when something goes wrong?

What failure point do you need to prepare for today? What will you do?

How might leaders prepare for failure without becoming negative?