Hindsight is always 20/20. At least that’s the expression. Looking back we can see why something went wrong, but the reasons may not have been apparent at the time. Yet too few of us, in either our personal or business lives, take advantage of that hindsight.
In every planning retreat I lead, we devote part of the time to reviewing the recent past. And in four simple questions, we find a treasure trove of information about how to move forward. Ask and answer them for yourself, the rewards will be invaluable (you may find you already ask them, and if so, this is affirmation that you are on the right path).
- What did I accomplish?
- Where was I challenged or where did I fall short of the mark?
This next question is more involved, and it is vital to leveraging the power of hindsight:
- What were the factors that lead to my not being able to reach my intended outcome? What factors led to success?
On the side that didn’t go well: Did we lack the expertise? Was the schedule unrealistic? Did communication break down? Were certain team members uncommitted? Was there a catastrophic event: hurricane, flood, fire (unlikely but possible)? When we see these same factors showing up next time, we’ll know to be on guard as to how they could foil our plans.
On the positive side: Did we make it a priority? Did we have leadership support? Did we bring in a partner? Did a competitor suddenly leave the market? Did everyone involved have time to plan? In looking at what helped our success, we will know to include these factors in the future.
- So what?
When you ask what you learned, you discover your: so what? This is your “take away.” You may have learned your processes are not clear or you need better analysis of the situation before leaping in. Maybe hiring the wrong person cost more than not having anyone in the role. Perhaps you understand now how important it is to get customer feedback.
Often we say, experience is a great teacher, but unless we pause to ask what we learned from an experience, we could miss the opportunity to grow.
So when you (or your business) has a success or a failure–or a little of both–take a moment to ask yourself these questions. This will not only create ease during your next venture, but it will turn those seeming challenges into pure success.
Let me know what you learn.
Until next Tuesday,