Don’t Let Your Past Mistakes Haunt You


Halloween is upon us, and with it the usual ghosts, goblins and hauntings. Most of us enjoy a good scare once in awhile, especially in the name of Halloween fun. However, when it comes to your business, a real scare doesn’t feel so much thrilling as it does terrifying.

No business sets out to fail. It’s a scary prospect, but The Small Business Administration reports, about half of all new establishments only survive five years or more. No matter the size or the length of time in operation, businesses face challenges every day, and costly mistakes can lead to failure. As scary as that statistic sounds, businesses don’t have to buy into the fright. With a focus on strategic planning and execution, businesses can better prepare for mistakes and move on with the proper perspective, planning, and perseverance needed to set themselves up for market success.

Gain Perspective And Set Goals

Your company must understand that how you react to a mistake is just as important as how you manage it. In our recent The Core of Strategy blog post, we highlighted how Apple struggled in the late 90s. What for some was perceived as a colossal mistake in market strategy, became the pivotal starting ground for Apple to reassess, shift priorities and set new goals for success. Just as Apple needed to rethink their strategic goals, your business should have in place overall strategic planning goals designed to get you through tough times and move business goals forward. Strategic thinking inspires people to look past negativity and move toward positive outcomes and action.

Plan for Possibilities

Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This attitude is exactly what businesses today need. Mistakes do not equate to failure; they simply reset the stage for a new attempt from a different perspective. When a company makes time to develop a thoughtful, strategic plan, it helps to mitigate risk. The right strategic plan allows an organization to monitor performance across all channels from KPIs, to interdepartmental communication, to overall tasks and goals. Businesses who employ this kind of comprehensive strategy are more likely to see weaknesses and make adaptations before catastrophic mistakes can happen. After all, you can’t fix a mistake if you can’t see it exists. Yes, mistakes highlight weakness, but companies don’t have to buy into a failure mentality. With the proper planning in place, weakness become strengths.

Remain Agile And Persevere

It is true some mistakes can be costly, but they don’t have to define your company. While goals and strategic planning should be used to overcome mistakes and mitigate risk, no strategy should be so rigid that companies refuse to adapt. Companies need to continually reassess goals and plans and adapt their strategies to the competitive market around them. By combining goal setting, planning, and agility throughout the strategic process, businesses are better equipped to prevent and move past mistakes. It’s also worth noting that no matter how strong your strategy plan, and how well executed, mistakes are inevitable. The final and most valuable component to overcoming failure is the ability to persevere. Rarely does one mistake signal the final nail in the coffin – you’re ability to be agile and work around missteps is what will set your company apart from the competition throughout the long haul.

At the heart of every mistake is the ability to overcome it. The right strategy allows businesses to set and change goals, plan to see possible problems and move forward with agility. When these factors are part of a complete strategic plan, your business will more readily be able to change perspectives, plan for the inevitable, and persevere so that any mistakes take their proper place as ghosts of your past.