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In this weekly series, Todd Dewett, PhD, shares the tips respected and motivated managers use to improve rapport, navigate tricky situations, build better relationships, and drive the business forward. Each week, we'll release two tips ranging from avoiding the dreaded micromanagement to managing a multigenerational workforce, cultivating better listening skills, and developing an understanding of your organization's politics. Check back every Wednesday for more Management Tips.
This course qualifies for 5.25 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.
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You want to know something funny? Before I was a well known talking head, I was the kid who was fired at age 16 from the frozen yogurt store for giving free yogurt to a friend. I'm also the guy who wrote two horrible novels, and began a speaking career, as a very mediocre speaker. I could mention many additional failures I've endured over the years. But let's think about these three, for just a moment. Because I was fired as a teenager, I began to think seriously, for the first time, about integrity. Because my books were not very good, I was pushed to consider other types of writing.
Today, writings a big part of what I do. I'm also a professional speaker, but I didn't start as a great speaker. Audiences thought I was good, but not great. I chose to use that feedback and study the craft. Eventually I was successful because I was lucky enough to experience these failures early. And the key to my progress was choosing to learn from these mistakes. What about you? Learning how to take smarter risks and turn failure into learning is the hallmark of successful people, great teams, and every imminent creator through out history.
Think about it. Do you think that Einstein just woke up one day. No forethought whatsoever and instantly in one big eureka moment, poof! He thought of e equals mc squared. No, of course not. He went through trials and error. Thought experiment after thought experiment. Equation after equation. Trying over and over. He hit many roadblocks and failed many times along that path. Instead of lamenting failure, he chose to frame it in his mind as useful knowledge about what doesn't work.
And that motivated him to try again. It was the same with Thomas Edison. That man and his team created countless, useless contraptions. Before he perfected the light bulb he failed to find materials to make it viable. After many hundreds of failures he chose to stay positive by framing them as useful knowledge about what didn't work. So he tried again. I can promise you this. Whether we're talking about Einstein or Edison, or you and your career, nothing great is achieved without embracing the risks of learning that are absolutely required.
Instead of being afraid of failure, make it a badge of honor. If you want to understand self-improvement and have your team understand innovation, you've gotta learn how to fail faster, smarter, and cheaper over time. So ultimately, the choice is yours. Is failure a stigma to be endured or a catalyst that you can use to help accelerate your progress?
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