When we work with teams to develop their problem-solving skills, they often express a familiar worry, “What if we are not successful?”
Team members may be concerned they will not be able to solve the problems they face. They may look at the complexity of the issues they face and doubt themselves. There may be a history in the organizations of failure to solve specific issues. They may worry their colleagues will regard them as failures.
It is important not to let the fear of failure keep you and your team from trying. The only way to really fail is to never try.
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. He is remembered for his outstanding play that contributed to six NBA championships. He is best remembered for his successes, not his failures.
Jordan missed 26 game winning shots during his career (he made 25 game winners, 24 in the last 10 seconds of a game). He missed more than he made, but failing on one attempt did not hold him back the next time.
If Jordan had let any of those misses hold him back, we would not remember him in the same way, if at all. His successes became what mattered, his misses are all but forgotten.
There may be times when your team struggles or even fails. We find when teams learn and regularly utilize effective problem solving tools they tend to make fewer mistakes. Just like Michael Jordan, you need to prepare and practice to make yourself ready to succeed. If a mistake is made, your team needs to learn from it. Review the steps you used when working on the problem to diagnose what went wrong and fix it.
Just like Michael Jordan, do not be deterred by your misses. Learn from them, and keep moving forward. Like Jordan, your team can best be remembered for their successes. May your team’s record be as good as his.