The best lessons are the ones we learn

There’s nothing wrong with things going wrong in business. 

Do you remember Apple’s first hand-held device, the Newton?


That’s ok, neither does anybody else. 

Managerially the company did everything right and yet the product was a huge flop. 

But the brand didn’t disappear, and 13 years later they launched the iPhone, which quickly set the standard for hand-held devices ever since. 

It’s not good or bad

It just is. 

The things that happen, happen. 

Now we just have to decide what to do next. 

So when examining your past performance, don’t make a list of what went right or what went wrong. Instead, give every outcome the same consideration. 

There is only one question to ask yourself: why did something happen?

Whether it was the outcome you predicted or not, the question doesn’t change. 

Write your lesson

Consider each outcome with the following questions:

  • What did we do well?
  • What can we improve upon?
  • What did we not expect or predict?

These questions are designed to offer a neutral approach to how you examine your work. Even when an outcome was not what you wanted, you will probably find some elements to list under “what did we do well”. 

Learn your lesson

Try this: 

  1. Plot your answers into the first column of a three-column table. 
  2. In the middle column, write your desired outcome to that action. 
  3. In the last column, write the actual outcome. 

Look at the last column, and find where it doesn’t match the second column. 

Was the actual outcome better than expected, or worse? 

Explain why desire and reality are different, and those are the lessons you can learn from this experience. 

What next

How are you measuring success right now? Let’s get on a 30-minute discovery call to see what may be missing.