In a job interview once, after talking through my resume and experience, I was asked by one of the interviewers “tell us about something that you didn’t succeed at.” Being a young and inexperienced job candidate, I froze; to admit shortcomings on that stage was unthinkable. I didn’t get the job.

As a more experienced individual, this would be my response today: “Every success I’ve had started by identifying something that wasn’t working. And no solution was ever perfect at the start. If we don’t give up and are willing to make adjustments, we will succeed,” or something like that.

These two steps are the secret to consistently getting better results:

Never Give Up – I think the childhood saying goes something like “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Almost everything we ever do in life will at some point hit a period of less than desired performance.  If we scrap it, we fail. If we keep working at it, figure out how to improve it, we win.  It is literally that simple. If we are on a trip and come to a detour in the road, come to a roadblock, we don’t end the journey, we follow the signs for the alternate route to our destination; in the same way, being flexible, and creative when facing problems leads to better results.

Recalibrate Along The Way – this is the fixing part. The business environment is constantly changing; what was once THE right approach may now be outdated. We no longer have the luxury of a ‘set it and forget it’ approach. A consistent and effective feedback loop used to calibrate and fine-tune will help extend the life-cycle of most processes or products. Think about this, we don’t get in our cars, step down on the gas, and keep it that way, do we? We are constantly adjusting, automatically, to the situations on the road; that’s how we have to approach our businesses.

The essence of these two essentials for better results are captured in a quote from Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I either win or learn.”

Keep working for success, make adjustments along the way. Simple, but not always easy.


This post originally appeared on LinkedIn on October 9, 2016

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