In this week’s article I wanted to discuss success and why it is critical to spend as much time understanding why an intended outcome was successful as we tend to do when something fails.
As I mentioned in a previous article One Man Three Lifetimes one of the things we do in our research is always analyse why the people who are very loyal are loyal, so we can understand what our best practice is, learn from it and replicate it. We have proven that this is more valuable to an organization than just looking at the improvements.
I think most people would say, we learn from failures and most companies probably focus on failures as a way of learning why something went wrong or didn’t achieve an intended outcome. My question is how then do they lead their teams to success?
Don’t be afraid to fail and learn from those failures, but also look at success.
I often ask companies I work with to tell me what happens when things go wrong? They often say, we have a meeting, pull it apart and discuss it to understand what happened and what do we need to do in the future. I also ask companies what happens when things go really well? Generally, nobody really says a lot. They might say something like, we might do a high five but there is never a response like, we have a meeting about it, we look into why it was so successful and how we can replicate it.
He says, these may not be your rules, but these are my rules. I love his rules. So, in this article I am dedicating my blog to those rules.
It seems to me people just don’t realise successful outcomes provide us with so much information and most importantly deserve to be given an equal amount of time to workshop the results.
If you look at really good sports teams, they understand exactly why they succeeded. They don’t win by luck. They know the numbers, they know the key positions, and they already have the next game strategy to play against the next opposing team, why? Because they have analysed their successes.
You know, the All Blacks are a great example of that. One of their philosophies is we practice, like, we lose. They play their own game and in each and every successful game they know how many points they wanted to score, how many points they did score and how that was done. They understand what they have to do in every game to get those results.
My point is understanding why success happens, means you can replicate it, rather than it being more luck than design.
A lot of companies only receive data such as customer complaints, they don’t get a lot of other feedback. The result of this is that they react to customer complaints without understanding what percentage of customers are complaining about a specific experience and they spend time, resources, and revenue to make changes in the business which they live to regret, because they later find out that only a small percentage of their customer base complained.
How do you think they found out the truth?
Because the change made based on a few, resulted in many more complaints saying, Why the hell did you change that for? You know, we love that etc. regarding the change from the customers who were really happy with the way things were.
I work with a private school in Adelaide, and one of the reasons they initially commenced our research program was that the Chairman of the Board of Governors, realised that although they were receiving some negative feedback from some parents, their initial response was to be really reactive.
When we spoke to the parents, we found out that it was only about 3% of the parents who had that point of view.
We did our normal statistically valid research; we asked our key NPS questions and obviously gave them a lot of value in other areas as well.
I think when you are looking at society, we have small groups of people now who can get really loud and when making changes, it is critical to understand that they are not always representing the majority. It’s important to understand where you can improve. But it’s also equally important to understand why you succeed. Like Arnold