"An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage." ~Jack Welch

“What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful.” ~Blaine Lee

Everyone talks about learning from failure. By this line of logic if you want to double your speed of success, double your rate of failure. But there’s another way to speed it up even more: Why not learn just as much from success as you do from failure? We tend to take success for granted when it happens. After all, we wouldn’t usually start something if we didn’t think it was going to be successful. For this reason we can be a bit sloppy in getting the most out of lessons learned from success. But if I want to double my speed to success, I would personally much rather learn from failure AND success than simply doubling the pain of failure.

The easiest way to get going on this is to flip your analysis of failure that is hopefully already in place to learn just as much from success:

Instead of asking what went wrong, ask what went right? Why were you successful? What resources did you have? What plan did you put in place? Were there things that helped (that you could repeat)?

Instead of asking what you should do to fix the problem, ask what you can do to increase or continue the success? Is there a way to spread the success to other parts of the organization? What do you need to do to keep the momentum? What could stop or reduce the success in the future (and how do you prevent that from happening)?

Instead of asking how to be sure it never happens again, ask how you can ensure it happens every time? Can you create a procedure that ensures you are doing the right thing to be successful? What were the few key things that you did that made this successful?

One of my favorite books is “Peaks and Valleys” by Spencer Johnson and it covers this principle wonderfully by stating that what you do when things go bad and what you do when things go well determines how long you stay in that state and how quickly and how great you success will eventually be. For those interested it is a wonderful and quick read that reinforces the need to learn as much from success as you do from failure.

So if you want to double your speed along the highway to success, you are welcome to double your rate of failure, but I might also recommend the less painful route of ensuring you learn from your successes.

I would love to know your thoughts on this post so please leave your likes and comments below. Also, if you haven't checked out any of my three books yet, give them a look here, I am absolutely positive they will be a great help in your career!