The very concept of a ‘Success Analysis’ is not familiar to most leaders, teams or organisations. We are more used to analysing failure - on the grounds that we learn from our mistakes.
Well, there is some important learning to be had from mistakes and failures - mostly in the form of ‘Don’t do that again’. But there are neglected treasure troves of learning waiting for us when we recognise that we did something worthwhile or difficult successfully.
I was watching a colleague run a virtual session for a small group of colleagues on Zoom this week. It went so efficiently and seamlessly that I watched a recording to analyse how he did it. There were dozens of decision points that he worked to his advantage: he started, for example, with a very brief one-to-chat with each of us as we arrived at the session. We found ourselves quickly in small groups, which made connecting easier. And so on.
In my next call, the same day, I applied these and other techniques, none of them particularly tricky or spectacular in themselves. The overall effect was great - a fruitful, competent discussion that moved our project on. Just what we needed!
The way we accomplish a task may well prove to be a recipe for success - particularly in these Covid19 times, when we are experimenting with so much.
So, here’s how to do a Success Analysis when you have a team with accomplishments to its name.
Gather your team members together, and share stories of when this success happens. When, for example, have we launched new products into our market, or improved our IT system?
The stories will ideally touch upon:
- What prompted us to make the improvement?
- What contributions does each person make?
- What conditions are helping to maintain this success?
To take the example of improving the IT system, which comes from our recent work with a bio-pharmaceutical company, our client discovered that picking the right system from a range of offers was only the start of it.
What really made the difference was a series of short presentations to the executive team and to staff who would be using the system, to let them know the benefits of the changes and to give them the opportunity to ask questions, prepare with a training package and give it their blessing.
You might say success comes naturally, and so there’s no value in analysing it. But you need the analysis to be sure you have a recipe. Then you can follow a step-by-step process to repeat the success yourself and to and share it with others.
And you can use the insights from your analysis to discover clues to making improvements in other parts of your organisation. Our client, for example, realised in discussion with colleagues that it was not just IT changes that met resistance in their organisation. They had unearthed an approach for introducing other changes, too, such as new rotas for production shifts.
Others argue that time is better spent investigating mistakes - to find out who is to blame and holding them accountable.
Well, sure, learn what you can from your failures. But the real gold of knowing what to do (instead of the mistaken behaviour) is only found when we discover what works. Then we can analyse and re-apply it.
If you’d like us to guide you through a Success Analysis - and we think everyone is going to enjoy it and learn loads - then email us about an online development day for your team. And here’s to your next success!