“The greatest danger in business and life lies not in outright failure but in achieving success without understanding why you were successful in the first place.” Robert Burgelman
This mantra from the former Stanford professor rings true in so many situations. When things go well it’s often easy to forego the evaluation process or to make assumptions about what brought on the largesse, yet without this analysis, it is difficult to truly understand challenges when they occur. Guessing about why things worked out as they did is never a good strategy either.
It’s a wise habit to incorporate evaluation and reflection into your ongoing routine. Conduct After Action Reviews or Lessons Learned meetings. Keep a journal. Hold regular Cave Days or thinking sessions. Add reflection questions to your one-to-ones or staff agendas.
There are many ways to hit the pause button before going blindly forward; just remember to do so when you are experiencing success as well as failure.
Source: As quoted by Jim Collins in Turning the Flywheel, A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great, 2019, p. 5