Celebrating Success and Learning from Failure

What does success look like for your business? Have you defined it for your business? Do you celebrate it? Many business success stories have been told again and again. The success story of Amazon.com is one such story. Jeff Bezos started by selling used textbooks to university students. I was one such student. These success stories encourage others in business to continue making the sacrifices necessary to succeed. Many businesses are making small and big wins every day. They are hitting the set revenue and profitability targets. They are acquiring new customers; they are going into new markets; they are retaining our best customers, and they are attracting and retaining the best people. Carrying out a business successfully takes lots of effort. Celebration keeps the fire burning.

Any business success, no matter how big or small, deserves to be celebrated. When a business turns a year older, it is time to celebrate. When a project team completes a project, celebrate. When a team member goes the extra mile for the customer, celebrate them. When it is a colleague’s birthday, celebrate them. When a new customer is on board, celebrate. Saying “thank you,” writing “well done,” buying someone a present, taking them out to lunch, sharing their achievement with others, or creating a formal award and recognition program are all examples of ways to celebrate someone. Success is something to be cherished because it motivates everyone. What success story will you share with your team today? How will you celebrate success moving forward?

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Sometimes, individuals, teams, and businesses experience failure. These failures become an opportunity for us to learn and grow. We fail to retain a customer or a member of the team. We may fail to hit our revenue targets. A marketing campaign or a new product may fail. A business may fail in totality. All these failures become lessons in what we need to do differently. Some businesses have reinvented themselves or their products after failures. The 1985 New Coke launch was one such major failure. The product failure made Coca-Cola bring back its original Coke three months after the launch of a new product. Many businesses have experienced failures.

We can choose to learn from our failures as well as the failures of others. If we learn more from the failures of others, we get a head start. For example, some businesses took time to adapt to technological changes, and it became quite difficult for them to survive. These businesses become a lesson to others. Most of us have heard of the ‘Kodak Moment’. Initially, the ‘Kodak Moment’ was about getting ready for the perfect photograph to memorialize an occasion. After the digital revolution bypassed Kodak, the “Kodak Moment” was also used to refer to Kodak’s failure to realize that its strategy was no longer effective in a world gone digital. In the business world, there is no success without failure. We must therefore be more open to looking out for both success and failure. By celebrating success and learning from failure, we become better!

Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy

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