Dealing with Set Backs

Three business people walk paths to join together at one

We’ve all made mistakes or have regrets about how something has turned out. In business, these errors can be expensive, both in team dynamics and in financial realms as many individuals fall into blaming when mistakes or blunders happen. And whether blaming is directed at others or yourself, it’s a non-productive and toxic thought process.

Here are 7 steps to help you benefit from the setback and help you to view the “error, mistake, or blunder” as a learning opportunity:

  1. Stop shaming and blaming thoughts and behaviours – whether about yourself or another person. Instead, treat the situation and all people involved with caring and respect.
  2. Look at the situation with the lens of learning. What specifically contributed to the setback? When we get past focusing on a person and shift to behaviour, we can begin to make change. Make it about the specific behaviour vs. a specific person.
  3. Ask yourself and your team, “What can be done to fix the problem?” Take the action steps to do so.
  4. Take responsibility for your part – admit it to your team members and how you plan to create the solution. Setting up this level of accountability gives a strong message that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as we own them and work towards solutions.
  5. Now that the current problem has been dealt with, ask, “What can we do next time to ensure success.” It can be helpful to have your own ideas as well as to discuss it at the level of accountability and team.
  6. As you progress forward, keep aware of your behaviour to ensure that you are following through with your commitment and the new plan (and that your direct reports are doing so as well).
  7. Acknowledge the improvement.

You have now shifted from frustration and blaming to solution focused and accountable. You’ve taken a negative and made it as a positive that will improve your results next time.


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