History repeats itself, philosopher George Santayana warned us. So do failures, according to business consultant Terry Starbucker. On his blog, he lists seven common failures that, if curbed, offer good opportunities for improvement:
1. Failure to prioritize: It’s important to recognize the cost of doing something when there are better uses of your resources. Instead direct your energy to the greater priority.
2. Failure to decide: You need the courage to make timely decisions, even if there isn’t consensus or perfect information.
3. Failure to progress: When a target is reached, raise the bar. When that new objective is hit, again raise your sights. “Complacency is a state that has to be avoided, at all costs, and the ultimate learning here is that continuous improvement is an essential focus of any enterprise,” he writes.
4. Failure to praise: People must feel appreciated and valued, or they will leave.
5. Failure to trust: When taking on a new leadership post, the tendency is to want to be involved in every facet of the operation. Instead, trust others. It will save you from overwork and a huge misapplication of time and talent.
6. Failure to mediate: When conflict arises, as it will, don’t ignore it. Instead step into the breach and resolve the issue.
7. Failure to fire: Dismissing someone is not pleasant. But when you know in your gut it’s time to let an employee go, don’t wait.