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This is the big fear of many leaders. This is why clickbait posts titles in the negative we are all afraid we are doing things wrong or missing out on something. 

The dirty secret every leader needs to know is that we are all doing things wrong...all the time. So is everyone else.  It is how we learn. The difference between success and failure is not whether you get back up but how you deal with failure. How do you deal with making a wrong decision or a poor one?

Some people deflect: A bad decision is made and an excuse is given then we move forward. Sure you don't give up, but did you learn?  Maybe you thought "Oh I just won't do that again".

Some people adapt: A bad decision is made and they steer it in a new direction. Call it a pivot, call it an adjustment, whatever you want. 

My favorite is the do-over. A bad decision is made, parameters are changed and we try again.

Which method is wrong?  Personally I have always seen deflection as the worst decision you can make as a leader. It is the laziest and easiest to get away with.  You feel like you learned something and you have a takeaway "Dont do that". However, is this really the best way to grow? A series of negatives in life.  You burn yourself on a stove so you just stop using a stove. 

This is over simplistic, but is it any different than trying to release a new service or product that doesn't show a profit? We try, it doesn't work and we say "Well lets not do that thing again".  However, the real problem isnt how you deal with bad decisions, it is how you deal with ALL decisions.

We talk about this pretty consistently here with the Humanize IT process.  Other IT departments talk through the "Iterative Process".  This is the process of taking what you are doing and consistently improving things. An easy way to think about the iterative process is to make what you are doing to day look like crap tomorrow.  

This is what most business leaders do wrong. Bad decision or not your goal is to improve what you are doing.  This is where most business leaders fail, they do something that works, and they never improve it.  They do something bad and they make adjustments all the time via one of the methods mentioned above.  However they are not improving everything else. This will always result in mediocraty, because you are only tossing out the worst parts of your business. Leaving mostly average items and a few high performing assets.

How do we avoid this? We apply the same methodology to ALL areas of your business as we do failures. In this way, everything improves,  your bad decisions become mediocre assets and your mediocre assets become high performers. This continues for as long as you are leading the company. 

You know you are succeeding at this when you start saying things like "remember when we thought that was successful?" or "Our high point last year is our bottom of today"  Maybe landing one $1500MRR contract today is considered major success.  Then next year you are considering raising your minimum contract to $1750MRR because you have so much business. This is the iterative process and we want to keep this up for as long as possible.  This leads to successful companies.  

If you are not following an iterative process across all areas of your company you are failing.  This is more than process improvement, it is growth across the board. So go forth,  make the best you do today look like crap tomorrow!

Adam Walter

Written by Adam Walter

Adam has witnessed too many bad QBRs, technology conversations with executives, boring presentations and lengthy quotations. He felt that this is a major obstacle for small businesses to adopt great technologies. He started his own vCIO practice and has grown it into a very lucrative business in a short amount of time focusing only on vCIO offerings to small businesses. He’s been training and crafting materials for MSPs around the world to unlock the potential for MSPs to become business partners. He started his own vCIO practice and has grown to a very lucrative business in a short amount of time focusing only offering vCIO offerings to small businesses. He had been training and crafting materials for MSPs around the world to unlock the potential for MSPs to become business partners.