The mettle of an organization and an individual’s character are revealed in how they deal with failure. Avoidance is not a winning strategy. You have to face failure head-on. When you do find yourself in this predicament, adhere to these basic steps for your recovery:
1. Mind-set – The first and most important thing to do is to get your mind right. Do not dwell on it, indulge in self-pity, or feel sorry for yourself. It will not change what happened. You failed because you had the courage to try something and it did not work out, but you have a choice. That choice is how you react and how you deal with it. Look at this as a learning lesson on the path to success. Have faith in yourself and be determined and motivated to find a way or make one. Maintain your composure, stay focused, and stay positive with the firm belief and commitment in what you are doing providing you with the courage and wherewithal to keep moving forward.
2. Accurate Date and Feedback – You need to find out what went wrong, what the consequences are, and what potential options exist. Basing your recovery and actions on inaccurate or misleading information compounds things, possibly turning a failure into a tragedy. It is imperative to get an accurate assessment, which requires candor and honesty, with an environment conducive to this type of exchange of information.
3. Be Objective and Rational – Exercise self-control, and resist actions you will later regret. Keep your head in the game as decisions made in an emotional or angry manner are almost always bad decisions, laden with negative consequences.
4. Learn, Plan, and Adapt – There are two lessons to be learned here. The first is what caused the failure. The second is taking heed of the events causing the failure in order to prevent future recurrences. Break it down into the essential components, understanding that oftentimes it is not one thing, but a series of events which caused it to happen. Whatever the cause, get to the root of it, and take action.
5. Be Realistic and Resilient – Emerging from failure is a process, fraught with ups and downs, and takes time. The factors that will determine what you can do or what you can’t do are usually resource-or time-related. Be prepared to make tough decisions, paying heed not only to what went wrong, but also what went right. Perseverance and determination are critical to seeing things through. You must have the character and strength of will to get through it. Take care of your people; there are others around you who may not be as resilient as you are and may not fare as well.