I’m 90% Failure

I like to be up-front with my colleagues that 9 out of 10 ideas I come up with are bad ones.

However, sometimes it seems like I’m trying to get through the first nine as fast as possible.  While many people (not my fellow 8pm Warriors) might give up after one or two failures, I’ve got plans for something special.  I’m holding out for magic #10 every time, no matter how painful it gets.

That’s means a lot of failure.

I didn’t always think of myself as a 90% failure, but after looking at my past it’s quite clear. With all the running, pushing, and leaping I’ve done over the years, there’s been a LOT of gut-wrenching, aching, painful failures to get to #10.

You probably know the feeling I’m talking about…

However, as the oldest son of a Lutheran minister with eight kids, I had no other choice if I wanted to be successful in business leadership without waiting forever.  No one was going to do it for me.

I had to pay for college, take loans for almost everything I needed to start out, and never had any seed money or venture capital from family (they were all poor or thought I was crazy).

On top of that, we were lacking strong business mentors in my family.  I was the product of 2 generations of pastors and 4 generations of farmers.  Nothing wrong with those professions, it’s just that I had another calling, another passion.  However, it meant less support and fewer cheerleaders along the way.

I’ll bet I’m not alone.

These days, many of us are having a hard time with failure.  Take heart.  If you want to be different, blaze trails, make magic, then you’re bound to fail at some point.  Sooner or later we all fail along the path to great things.  The key is not quitting.

Ignore the naysayers.  Ignore the “I told you so” folks.

Keep going!

It’s easy for the spectators in life to watch us fall down on the road of life.  It’s easy for them to privately laugh, snicker, and feel good about themselves from the comfort of their simple life.  They will call us failures, “Pie in the Sky” dreamers, and tell us to get our heads out of the clouds.

I don’t care.

We will reach the end.  We will get to #10.  It just might hurt a bit and we must accept the fact that we might be 90% failures.

This blog is about that journey, about those who walk the same path towards their destiny.

Join me.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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The Myth of Teamwork?

I just read Skip Weisman’s blog about the “Myth of Teamwork” and was impressed.  Not because I think teamwork is a myth, but because it’s high time someone took a look at why teamwork isn’t successful many times.

It is because individual team members fail.

However, I think that Skip misses the fact that teamwork is more than just the actions associated with working as part of a team.  It is a culture, a mindset, a way of working and winning together, not just as individuals.

But it does start with individuals.

The Problem of Teamwork in Certain Cultures

A teamwork mindset requires confidence in others.  Continual failure by fellow team members creates  a disincentive to rely on someone else, the very foundation of teamwork.

Therefore, for it to be effective, members of the team must do their work effectively and earn the trust of their peers.  Otherwise, people resort to depending on themselves primarily (“it’s faster if I do it myself” mentality), a fatal blow not just to the concept of teamwork, but delegation and collaboration as well.

Organizations that hire great people and teach those great people to understand and trust each other, incubate more than just a teamwork culture.

They incubate success.

On the flip side, teamwork is a joke in organizations that hire sloppy people and then allow poor performance to continue, while at the same time preaching that people need to work together.  The second part of teamwork is “work”, and it needs to be done well for teamwork to succeed.  Otherwise, they’d be better off letting their few “All Stars” do the process or project themselves, rather than introducing broken cogs into the system.

I can’t count how many times leaders in organizations I’ve assisted have lost focus on cleaning up poor individual work performances, and have instead brought in consultants to help do fruitless team building exercises.

Without individual success, teamwork is indeed a waste of time.

One Idea for Team Building

We have to listen to our staff and actively seek their feedback.  If your team is dysfunctional, it’s time to ask your team why.  When dealing with team problems, I always start by interviewing everyone involved and asking what the problem is.

Nine times out of ten, they have the answer already figured out.  They almost always know if they should trust their teammates to finish their part correctly, and encouraging them to “work together” is frustrating and pointless.

For true team building, leaders must hold their individual team members to a high standard first (build trust in performance), then help them see the excellence they each bring to a project (understanding).  Only at that point will the handoffs  be smooth, the communication open, and synergies will begin to appear.

Have an excellent night,

Aaron@Biebert