“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Failure is feedback. The concept of failure could mean something different for everyone. It doesn’t have to be a catastrophic disaster, just something that hasn’t worked as we had hoped or we recognize could have been done better. We are always talking about how important it is to celebrate our successes, but it’s equally important to reflect on our setbacks.
What can make this a little challenging is, as human beings, we tend to shy away from talking about our failures or reflecting on negative feedback in a constructive way. I’ll admit, it’s an uncomfortable practice at first. But…if we step back and create a practical structure within our programs to collect and objectively examine feedback, negative or positive, we can use this to achieve better results, higher satisfaction and more effective programming overall.
Creating this space means making it part of the process and focusing on consistently monitoring and tracking program activities to see what’s working and what isn’t in the short, medium and long term. In your program design, it’s helpful to include a series of feedback loops outside of formal evaluations; these could include ongoing, general feedback for the program, as well as, avenues for feedback about specific initiatives. This allows you to identify and address issues and challenges in a timely manner. No one wants to find out at the end of an entire year that something wasn’t working and you had no idea.
Some deeper questions to consider when designing feedback to make sure we are also keeping our eye on the strategic priorities and objectives and making the most out of each program activity:
- Are we reaching our goals (for the program or for a specific event)?
- Are our efforts aligned with organizational efforts?
- Are we creating aligned employee action?
- Are our program structure & systems effective?
- How do we rate for employee satisfaction?
- How does this contribute to a supportive culture?
- How does this support our brand or purpose?
Designing feedback loops allow you to address challenges and reframe programming issues in real time, creating a program built on meaningful iterations. Building on what works and learning from what doesn’t.
Want to learn more?
Join us in our upcoming SEENTalks Webinar entitled: Fail Forward: Reflection and “Failure” Reporting for Continuous Improvement, November 30, 2016, 12 noon EST. Learn about collecting feedback on success, reflection and reporting for improvement in your Sustainability Engagement Programs. We will also have Ashley Good from Fail Forward to speak to us about failure reporting and how it can fuel us to create more success in our programming.