Success Strategies-Lessons Learned from Best Practices

Often you count success when the outcome is positive. If the outcome is less than what you expected, it is labeled a failure. In both situations, lessons can be learned. It is important to take time at the end of any task or project to analyze “what worked’ and “what didn’t work.” From this analysis, you can draw out the lessons learned and from those, create Best Practices.

In reality, if the project is a success, you pat yourself on the back and move on to the next assignment. If this is your normal pattern, you are missing out in several areas:

  1. Give the team or other vested parties the opportunity to enjoy the success and share the highlights, challenges, ways they overcame them, etc. This activity will build a bond of trust and cooperation among them. It also allows you the opportunity to gather insight into the project and personnel. Just as important, taking time to discuss the project demonstrates that the organization values their effort.
  2. Even in a successful outcome, there are lesson to be learned. Rarely is a project perfect in all phases and steps. Everyone can learn from others when they share their tactics for overcoming challenges and setbacks. From this knowledge new approaches can be developed and future project teams may be able to avoid repeating the same pitfalls.

Of course, when a project is less than successful, there are always lessons to be learned. However, these lessons require a different approach. The goal should be to determine what worked and what didn’t – not to find blame.

If you start from a position of seeking to blame, you will not get truthful answers.

  • Everyone will tell you what they think you want to hear.
  • They will be trying to protect themselves from the possibility of being singled out and put on the spot.
  • Those who know they were part of the problem may already be punishing themselves.
  • The goal is to gain information so the problem does not occur again.

To¬†create an environment in which people want to work together for continuous improvement, approach it as a problem-solving session – with the emphasis on “problem-solving” and not on blaming or punishing. Your goal is to gather information to improve the process for a successful outcome the next time.

A) Analyze what happened – not who did it!

B) Ask for what was learned

C) After gathering input from everyone’s perspective, create Best Practices to avoid a repeat situation.

Once Best Practices have been determined and agreed upon, be sure to communicate them across the department or organization so others may benefit as well. Make a habit of reviewing each project with those involved to maximize future success.

Sherry G. Day, M.S., President & Chief Learning Officer of Executive Resources-Human Potential Consultants, L.C. based in Michigan, has worked with thousands of individuals to assist them in discovering the potential within oneself. Transforming individuals and organizations to maximize potential and execute intentions, Sherry works in one-on-one, team and classroom environments to help individuals to maximize their potential and develop their innate interpersonal skills to communicate and lead more effectively. © 2009

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