One of the frustrations I experience is when managers or analysts share with me that their organizations tried to implement progressive management methods, and they either failed or abandoned them. A prominent example is an unsuccessful attempt to implement activity-based costing to measure and manage costs and profit levels of products, services, channels and customers. Other enterprise performance management examples include risk management, customer analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and the balanced scorecard.
What causes these failures or the quick loss of interest?
Experiencing failure is a foundation for success
What we are discussing here is a topic few wish to discuss – failure. I advocate having a positive view of failure and leveraging disappointing or botched implementations of an advanced managerial method or system as a learning experience. Failure can be a great teacher. Perseverance and determination is important for success. Don’t believe that one needs to avoid failure. You have to accept risk when taking on improvement projects.
There are some inspirational lessons about early career failures by individuals who ultimately succeeded. Consider these:
Is this not enough evidence that failure is just another name for experience?
To read further the rest of this article, please click on this hypertext from my monthly article I write for Information-Management.com on May 3, 2012 titled “Tried and Died, One and Done: What to do with Failure.” The article concludes with this:
Lessons learned: Valid methods don’t die but go dormant
The ultimate lesson is that implementers should not underestimate the importance of behavioral change management and overcoming people’s natural resistance to change. This includes employees who are afraid of knowing the truth and do not want to be held accountable or measured.
My advice is to consider how much emphasis to place on three factors that, when combined, overcome resistance to change: discomfort with the current situation; a vision of what a better state looks like; and first practical steps (e.g., a pilot project or a rapid prototyping exercise). Many project champions dwell on the second one, a vision, by explaining the benefits of their proposed project. The key is to focus on the first factor by creating discomfort in managers and co-workers. Constantly ask, “How long do we want to continue to make decisions with flawed, misleading or incomplete information?” That creates the interest in the vision – a solution.
After a tried-and-died project fails, the need that triggered interest typically does not go away. Like a hibernating bear, the project simply goes dormant. Inevitably managers will repeat the same questions, like “Where do we make or lose money?” There will always be a second chance to successfully implement the project. Learn from your failures. Do not underestimate the value of experience. Never lose hope.