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How to “Fail Forward”

This week I received an email from a past client with some really terrible accusations. Not only was it offensive, but it was also outright wrong. And you know what proved it wrong. Our systems. Was there something to learn? Did we have the opportunity to fail forward? YES

Let’s break it down with what we learned.

First, Important notes!! These were our pinch runners in this exchange and brought in the home run. Long ago after a mistake, I had made I created the important notes doc in each client file. Our team grumbles and complains about having to complete these every month or when there is a change but it SAVED the day here.

Second, we had one takeaway from the criticism. And we will put something in place with what we learned. But it’s important to note this person was criticizing, not offering constructive feedback. You earn the right with your kindness to give feedback. If this email had been more kind and not accusatory I would have listened.

woman with brown hair and white shirt look off into the distance.

Third, these emails throw people off. Allow space for yourself and your team to spin. We acknowledge receipt of the email and said we would respond in 24 hours. Then we all get to be pissed off, offended, and whatever else emotion needs to get out there.

Fourth, we respond with an email we all agree upon and close the loop on it.

Fifth, we ask….how can we “fail forward” from this. In this situation, I will say we did everything right so it’s not so much from our actions but the interaction with this past client.

What’s your strategy for “failing forward”?

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