“Every failure, every adversity and every heartache, carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill.
Are you open to failure? Do you admit your failures? Do you learn from them?
Failure Makes You Stronger
A big failure of mine was getting fired. I was a fresh MBA and took a job as Marketing Director of the Spaghetti Shop. I worked in their corporate office and was hired to run campaigns and help all the franchisees. I really didn’t know what I was doing that fresh out of college. I worked long hours and gave it my best shot, yet was let go after about six months. At first, I was angry. I had moved my life across two states to take the job. With time and self-reflection I realized I wasn’t the best person for the job. It was a good thing because I continued to develop Taylor Studios, too. As a business owner, I have also made tough decisions when someone wasn’t the right fit. It has given me empathy and perspective in the rest of my life.
I have also fallen off a horse many times in my life. If I never got back on after being knocked around a bit, I wouldn’t have the joy they have brought my whole life. “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
One of our core values is IMPROVEMENT. It includes evaluating our mistakes. We ask ourselves how we can make sure the mistake isn’t made again. We come up with plans, systems, processes, or whatever to make sure it doesn’t. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We try to make sure we don’t go insane.
Failure Brings New Ideas
When we analyze potential new markets or products we have a saying to “fail fast and fail cheap.” Ok, that investment failed, lets move on to the next one. Don’t be afraid to say this didn’t work or your resources will not be used to their most effective potential.
Contingency Plans Make Failure Manageable
It is also important to think about what might go wrong and have contingency plans. With my Spaghetti Shop failure, I had skills and a strong work ethic so it didn’t take long to get over that loss and get on with life. Sometimes I’ve been called a pessimist when I ask, “what if _____ happens.” I even have the management team discuss what would happen if one of us dies or is disabled and can’t work. My team has a plan if something horrific happens. These contingency plans help handle life’s curve balls and palliate failures.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ― Thomas A. Edison
In the early days of Taylor Studios, many of us acted as project managers or, at least, as central coordinator of projects. Often this was frustrating and inefficient. So, several years ago we decided to establish a PMO for these reasons:
Play to People’s Strengths
Did you know often artists don’t like doing paperwork or budgets? I know this is surprising. So, why would you have a designer, interpreter, sculptor or art director be responsible for things which are not their strengths? Sometimes you figure these things out over time. We assign project managers to projects because project management is what they do well.
We encourage, and sometimes demand, that our clients assign one person on their end who all communication flows through. Have you ever had a project with a large group of people and spent hours and hours trying to find out who had the information you needed or who was the decision maker? Having a central point of communication brings efficiency and better communication to all parties.
A project manager who follows a project from start to finish increases the efficiency and knowledge on a project. Experienced project managers also reuse knowledge from one project to the next. They can implement best practices on all projects along the way.
If you have a PMO then you have some standardized processes. These tools can be reused from project to project to enhance success. This saves times by not reinventing the wheel for every project which allows projects to start up quickly. Process brings a common language to the project team and helps analyze risks and catches them early. It helps maintain control over resources and capital, too. You will have someone consistently watching the budget and the schedule. It allows for a proactive approach to project issues. Process adds accountability for everyone involved and streamlines projects. I would say it makes projects more fun because it eliminates some worries.\
Do you have a PMO or have you worked with a company that does? What are some other reasons you see for creating a PMO?
We all have go-to websites which we must check daily, or at least more often than many others. Today, I thought I’d share my eight most favorite sites. They’re a mix of business and pleasure. What sites do you recommend I check out?
If you need an uplifting video check out Wimp! They have a great app too.
TED rocks! Nuff said.
I read Seth Godin’s blog every day. There’s a lot of marketing advice and life advice.
When you are trying to figure out the crazy things people do or you just want some words of wisdom, Psychology Today has great articles.
If you want to know why we do what we do and get some great life advice Barking up the Wrong Tree is the place to go. I love this blog! It is very interesting.
I’ve been an Inc. fan for over 25 years. It’s the place to go for small business wisdom.
I listen to podcasts or audio books every day, so I love Audible. Never stop learning.
Daniel Goleman – he writes about emotional intelligence.
Guy Kawasaki – I’ve been following him since his Apple days.
Harvard Business Review – duh! Plus I listen to their podcasts.
Share your favorite sites in the comments section below. I wouldn’t mind adding a few more to my list.
I listened to Dan Pink’s blog on how rhyming can enhance reason. I thought I ought to try some rhyming in my blog to help you cognitively process it.
Last week I attended the grand opening of our exhibit in Cleveland at the Watershed Stewardship Center. Our client at Cleveland Metroparks chatted with me about what it was like working with Taylor Studios Inc. on this three-year project.
The Story is The Glory
If your design and interpretive partner help everyone stick to the story during the project, it will enhance the outcome for you and your audiences. He was grateful for the creative design staff at TSI.
Hours Equal Dollars
You do not want to devour the hours. I am thankful he explained to his staff early on this is what TSI is selling during planning and design. They are buying our hours and we cannot frivolously whittle them away.
Process Manifests into Success
He also expressed how he was impressed with our business finesse. He knew we would track who did what when and how the hours, schedules, dollars, written communication, and the overall project in general progressed over time. If we were asked to go above and beyond our scope of work we would be on it and would discuss the ramifications with them. He understood we would hold them accountable for their part of the project. Issues which could arise can be insurmountable if you are not held accountable.
It Appears that Entrepreneurs are Weird
On a completely different note, I found this cool new website called Clarity. It offers business advice to entrepreneurs by the world’s best industry experts. You can pay for so many minutes of advice from the huge group of mentors on the site. What a cool idea. I was digging through some expert portfolios and found a clip of a keynote speech by Cameron Herold. He asked the crowd to stand up if this list of traits described them:
Are you filled with energy?
Are you often flooded with ideas?
Are you driven?
Are you restless?
Are you unable to keep still?
Do you often work on little sleep?
Can you be euphoric at times?
I had a resounding “yes” to many of his questions. He then went on to explain that these are not traits that describe entrepreneurs, these are the questions a doctor asks to diagnose bi-polar disorder. My poor staff.