One + March/April 2011 - (Page 38)

>> ON THE JOB Find out how your organiza on’s culture can change if it embraces failure on Page 16. BY DAWN RASMUSSEN, CMP << Fail vs.FAIL I POSTED A PLEA ASKING FOR HELP WRITING THIS COLUMN. Not one response. Silence. Which pretty much confirmed my research on the topic: People can’t accept— much less talk about—their job failures. We hide them away in that vacuous storage area of the brain with the mothballs and ex-boyfriends and try not to think about them ever again. What I want to know: Why exactly does job failure hurt so much, and why are we so scared of it? Business and quality management guru Philip Crosby once said: “Very few of the great leaders ever get through their careers without failing, sometimes dramatically.” We’ve all seen the big dogs such as Enron and WorldCom fail, but it’s the smaller mistakes we make that seem so incongruous to these giants—these everyday errors that can build up over time to catastrophic ends. But what if it’s me behind the error, 38 what if I really screw up on the job? In search of answers, I went to an unusual source: Jason Zasky, editor of Failure magazine, which is all about the single act of things-gone-sour. “Failure is more interesting than success,” Zasky said. “And even more importantly, it’s a universal experience.” He’s right. We all mess up at some point in our careers, including a few squirmy, gut-wrenching and totally anguishing #epicfails. I’ll even admit to my biggie: When I was in my early 20s, I derailed a trade show by neglecting the marketing. It was my first big project, and while I executed the event flawlessly, that one teeny tiny detail of working with the marketing person didn’t even cross my mind (cringing yet?). The end result: Gorgeous trade show with 100 percent booth sell-out. Attendance: Not so much. I got an earful, believe me, but I was also able to learn from the experi- ence…and I never made the mistake again. Zasky lists three things that keep most of us from properly addressing the reasons why we fail at this or that. “Failure itself is embarrassing, humbling and hard to overcome…which leads to non-action,” he said. “You’ve got to confront things head-on, learn from them and then move on. And never give up.” Today, workers are more willing to accept failure—and learn from it—than in the past. You can actually see this acceptance dramatically divided along generational lines, Zasky says. People in their 20s and 30s ricochet through failures like pinballs between bumpers, while many older workers simply don’t accept the term failure. It wasn’t an option offered during their upbringing. But it is an option today. Innovative organizations now even reward employees for calculated risktaking—which can lead to big fails, the lessons of which can lead to the coveted win. You can and will get over failure. In hindsight, it’s a powerful experience that can’t be taught. Turning around and facing it can have positive, far-reaching impacts on your career. Failure isn’t game over; it’s the path to success. DAWN RASMUSSEN, CMP, is the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Careers, which specializes in hospitality/ meeting professional resumés. She has been a meeting planner for more than 15 years and an MPI member since 2001. one+ 03 / 0 4.11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of One + March/April 2011

One + March/april 2011
Energy of Many
Ultimate Fail
Ask the Experts
Wonders, Man
Business Is Back
Top Spots
Fail vs. Fail
Long Distance Sportsmanship
The Conference Is Not About You
Eat, Play, Love
Fantastic Fit
Where Tomorrow Happens
Middle Kingdom Come
All Together Now
Economic Impact Study
The Truth of Tech
The Social Networker
Super Wi-Fi Is Coming
The Kitchen Sink
@ Your Service
Your Community
Making a Difference
Until We Meet Again
MPI's 2011 Meeting Guide to Colorado

One + March/April 2011