Every once in a while I like to experiment with recipes. Growing up, whenever Mom did this we called it “recipe-ing”. Last night was one of those times that for me, recipe-ing didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I didn’t enjoy the meal at all, and neither did my 4 year old, which isn’t really too surprising because the meal didn’t consist of hot dogs or peanut butter-her 2 absolute favorite meals. It’s easy to look at a cookbook and think, “This person made the perfect recipe, why can’t I do that?” Now for some people, this would be a total let-down and would result in giving up, but the truth is, we don’t know how many different tries it took Betty Crocker to get her recipes just right. As little as a year ago, I probably would have just said, “oh well, I can’t do it”. Now, however, I began to “make lemonade” after tasting my flop of a meal.
We’ve all heard the cliche-“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. In business, this is definitely a recipe for success. Yes, every perceived failure can lead to an even larger success if we take the time to learn from it, and we can do this with just a few simple steps!
1) Analyze what went right: what did you like? what parts excited you the most? which things received the best feedback? It may be difficult at first to do this part if you feel like you’ve failed, but I bet that there was something good about that marketing campaign that flopped or the email that didn’t get much response. My recipe was creamy and cheesy, and that part was definitely good! I had something I could build on, so I kept analyzing!
- get feedback from an unbiased source-networking groups and colleagues can provide this if you ask the right questions (which I am providing in the steps-so convenient!)
2) Analyze what went wrong: what left a “bad taste” in your mouth? with my recipe, it was 2 ingredients that were part of a package that turned me off. I know I can easily find a different frozen potato without onions and peppers, so I will try again with that. You may need to separate yourself from the project to be able to be objective about the parts that went wrong. Take a few days to think about the positives, and you may be able to more easily see the things that caused your project to be less than you expected. Ask for specific answers about what people didn’t like (from your unbiased source). It could be color combinations, wording, or even the timing could have been wrong.
3) Find a way to improve on the things that went wrong-add some sugar and water to your squeezed lemon, and viola-success!
It may (and probably will) take more than one try, but if you keep analyzing the good and the bad, you’re sure to come up with a winning combination!
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