Ok... what the #!@* went wrong?!

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"OK... what the #!@* went wrong?!"

 I will go out on a limb and say that many of us, to one degree or another, have said something to this effect; for those of us who are a little "over the top dramatic", I would suggest something even more "colourful" is used. What do you say when it was supposed to work, and for some reason... it just didn't?

You planned, you scheduled, you worked (very hard), you validated, you tested and you launched... it should have worked... but instead, you find yourself shaking your head and just asking such a profound question. Recent events have reminded me of a number of things and I thought I would share...

Plans, more often than not, will fall apart or become irrelevant the moment they are implemented. This is not to say that the plans and the work was wrong, substandard or misdirected, but as the "real world" comes into play it responds not quite the way you anticipated - Things go wrong. Inevitably your plan, and by extension what you are doing will be misaligned with the real world, and things "will not go entirely according to plan."

A leader I very much respect once said, " If you get it 70 % right, you are having it a good day". One can debate the percentage, but what is import to note is you will never get it 100 % right! You will manage "degrees" of success.

You are allowed to get emotional; you worked very hard so you have earned the right. Here is something to consider though... 1) You don't want to spend too much time as it really can be a time waster; as you know solving problems is an intellectual exercise, not an emotional one. 2) More often than not, these situations conjure up negative emotions which simply are not the fuel to get you out of the situation.

You will never get it 100 % wrong. It may not go as planned, but it is all about "degrees of success" and what you have learned. How does that saying go again? "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways it will not work"**. It is all about what you have learned and the success you can build from it.

What do you do next? I recommend moving forward, although you could do nothing and just quit. Again, I recommend moving forward. 

  • Assess what went wrong and more importantly what went right. And why?
  • Bring in new perspectives to offer insight into what may be going on.
  • Develop an improvement plan and build upon what went right.
  • Communicate the situation early... be transparent, open and honest. This should also include the "improvement plan"
  • Emotionally pick yourself up, "dust yourself off" and get back into the game.

As they say, for every action there is a "reaction"... you may not get the reaction you expected, but your actions are moving you forward and making things happen. 

And as much as I really like saying, "OK, what the #!@* went wrong", I thing maybe I will get into the habit of saying, "OK... now we are getting somewhere!!".

I've dusted myself off and am moving forward... wish me luck.


* Feel free to insert any word you are comfortable with.

** They say Thomas Edison said this... and he did some amazing things.