I pre-ordered the new Hillary Rodham Clinton book, What Happened, and was looking forward to the delivery. And, as I was reading the book, I felt as though her assessment of what happened could be applied as an evaluation process for any business or project that has failed. How many times have we been profoundly disappointed in the outcome of a project? I know I have had major failures over the course of my career. While we can point to important accomplishments it's always the ones that we couldn't achieve that haunt us. We didn't reach our goals and deliver on the promise to our business, the company, and our employees. We all can fill in the blank. You get the picture. We couldn't make it happen. End of story. Or is it really the beginning of the story?
How many of us take a step back and truly attempt to do a deep dive into why we were unsuccessful? I know for me, I always think I have it figured out along the way when things are going right. There's always one to two reasons why the initiative failed or the project didn't get off the ground. But, truth be told it's hard to really do an honest post-mortem. Now, I have my excuses for not engaging fully in that process too. And, it all centers on time since there is never enough in one day. But if I (and I suspect all of us) want to be honest it's hard to do a thorough self-evaluation. It's a difficult process to confront our own disappointments. But we have to force ourselves because it allows us to exercise an opportunity to clear that skeleton out of the closet. That's the only way it won't haunt us. It also helps us to stop making the same mistakes and avoid pitfalls that are indicative of how we approach situations.
So, I believe anyone in business can identify with the words, emotions and self-evaluation in the book What Happened. No one hits the mark a 100% of the time.
As I continue to read this book, it has inspired me to dig deep and ask tough self-evaluation questions of my projects and my business. To really put myself out there and examine what I did or didn't do to contribute to missing the mark. It's hard to do but at one point or another I believe we can all challenge ourselves to ask, what happened?