Have you failed lately?

“Resilience is not about giving up striving for success or lowering the bar to mediocrity. It’s about learning how to risk mistakes, adapt to change and bounce back from disappointment and failure as we work toward meaningful goals.”

I love this excerpt from one of Margie Warrell’s columns in Forbes.

If the word ‘failure’ leaves you with a feeling of uneasiness, you’re not alone. It’s scary to fail, just like it is to take risks, to disrupt your business, to try new things.

The piece about working toward “meaningful goals” resonates with me most. If your day-to-day habits and business strategies aren’t getting you closer to what you want most – to book and help more patients, to build a more profitable practice, to expand to a new area – you’re going to need to try some new strategies.

That may seem daunting, but like Margie argues in her article, if you remove the pressure of “perfection” and allow yourself and your staff the time and space to identify, test and try some new ideas, trying something new becomes a significantly easier undertaking.

I like to tell the optometrists I work with that meaningful changes can be small ones. It could be scheduling dedicated time for recalling, updating your website, a fresh coat of paint, or a new social media channel. Whatever the ideas, big or small, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Even though some ideas may not be the best fit for your practice, no idea should be a bad one when it comes to idea generation. If you want to elicit ideas from your staff and tap into their unique insights, it is important to cultivate a culture where input is welcomed, not rejected.
  • Learning and growth come from experience, and taking a chance on some low-risk ideas is a good place to start. For example, if you have a staff member who has a digital skill set, allowing them to spend a few hours a week updating your website or social media channels is an experiment that at worst, empowers your employee and leads to some lessons learned about how your practice should approach its online promotion. At best, it could open up a whole new avenue for bringing in new patients and connecting with existing ones.
  • When you test new strategies out, it is crucial to give them time, to keep an open mind, and to understand that there may be some bumps along the way. It will be difficult to rally employees around new ideas and initiatives if they feel their new tasks will be subject to immediate scrutiny, or that they have to prove a strategy’s effectiveness by a strict deadline. Monitor new ideas and be sure to collect feedback, but do so in an inclusive way where hiccups and pivots are celebrated. After all, they lead to learning. With that mindset, failures equal growth.

Check out ‘Have You Learnt How To Fail Forward? The Lesson We Can’t Learn Soon Enough‘, by Margie Warrell, a best-selling author and a global speaker and leadership coach.

In it, you’ll learn how a fear of failure can stifle growth, and how to have conversations with your team about failure. And while the initial example relates to failure in the classroom, it’s just as applicable in the boardroom, or in the optometry practice.