#220 – Learning From Failure With Alyssa Cox

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the episode today, we have Alyssa cox. Alyssa, welcome. Thank you, Thomas. You are very welcome. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure, so I am a professional coach and speaker and really I’m a specialist in organizational effectiveness, and what I do is I work with my clients and I work with my coaches, right, my one-on-one coaches to really focus on taking the behaviors that they already have, making small tweaks to help them unlock sort of the power and potential that they have already latent within their behaviors, right, and unlock to get right over the hump for performance. Okay, thank you for that, and there’s a lot to ask you about. Of all the things that I could ask you about, what tends to be your most favorite topic?

One of the things that I’m particularly passionate about, and it’s because I’ve had such powerful experiences with this in the past, right, is learning from failure. And I think failure is a really loaded, emotionally loaded word for us, but we can use the word; like words like mistakes. We can use the words like, I like to talk about things that just didn’t go so hot. If you can’t think of one of these things that’s happened to you today that just didn’t go so hot or you wish you’d gone better, then it’s either very, very early in the morning or like you’re living the best life that I can only only dream about. Maybe I should subscribe to your newsletter, right? We all experienced things that we wish had gone a little bit differently, every day, and we spend an awful lot of time in our personal lives and our professional lives going through formal learning and development, trying to pick up new skills, and if we walk away from opportunities to learn from our mistakes to tap into continuous learning opportunities and continuous learning potential, then we’re really walking away from the best opportunity that we have to learn.

It’s already built in, it’s free, and if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are bound to make the same mistakes over and over again, and so I have personally had some of my most exciting professional experiences and places and times where I’ve grown the most are times when I’ve been encouraged to push on the boundaries of my comfort zone, try new things, inevitably make mistakes, but then had support from my leadership to sort of pick myself up and course correct along the way and sort of pave whole new areas of competence for myself. I’m excited about it and I like this to bring this to my people that I coach and the organizations that I work with to try to unlock that kind of experience for them as well. Learning from failure is definitely a, it’s a topic of interest of mine. I have seen people talk about it more and more on in the online world if you like. Are you aware of that increase in people discussing that topic?

I have seen it and I think it’s related to a trend that we’ve seen really blossom over the last couple of years of bringing your whole self to work, right? And showing online on LinkedIn more of, sort of the three dimensional self that you had. I mean historically, and so I, several months ago I posted a picture of sort of a candid photo of myself on LinkedIn with a post around like let’s talk about the effort that it takes to get to your achievements and not just focus on achievements. Like let’s celebrate the sweat as well. And I got a call from my mother who said, “Alyssa, that photo is for Facebook, it’s not for LinkedIn.” And LinkedIn is where you bring your professional self, because her model of a professional self is this totally polished, sort of inscrutable and above reproach individual, and that’s not who we’re bringing to work anymore.

This is a very positive trend and different organizations are in different places with this, different cultures are in different places with this, but I think everyone can say that versus compared to two or three years ago, we’re all bringing a lot more of our own vulnerability, a lot more of our own sort of three dimensional selves, a lot more of our own personalities, a lot more of our own personal interests to the workplace and to professionally oriented social media. Which I think it’s absolutely a positive, because where we bring more of ourselves and bring more conversations about mistakes that we’ve made, about things we wish had gone better, about things we’re trying to improve. This allows us to be more authentic in the workplace, also more authentic outside the workplace. And so yeah, I have seen this trend and I think it’s absolutely a positive trend. I think it’s also probably more, it’s more truthful as well. I think when people perceive or try and give a perception that they don’t struggle and that they’re polished and they don’t make any mistakes. I think that’s probably, giving a false impression of the real world, I think.

I fumbled through what you said quite succinctly. Can I just define, or ask you to define what what you deem failure to be, because I heard that you say mistakes a lot, learning from your mistakes, but how do you interpret that word just for clarification? So I think of failure as almost anything that you look at and think to yourself, man that could have gone better, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. I’m not always I’m not talking exclusively about catastrophic failure and in fact, when we look at the way we react to things that just didn’t go so hot or things we wish had gone better. When we’re in a position to course-correct over time and on a continuous basis, sort of failing fast and failing often, acknowledging it and moving forward. Almost like an agile development methodology applied to our personal behaviors. We’re able to avoid some of those enormous, catastrophic failures.

I mean if we think about the workplace, if you’re in an organization where status reports go from green, green, green, green, green, and then flaming red, these are small mistakes that have accumulated over time that no one wanted to talk about, and now your project is flaming red and it’s in a place where it’s almost unrecoverable, right? You’re in a sort of catastrophic failure state. If you have status reports that go from green to yellow, then you’re much more likely to have conversations about where we are trending off track and what resources we need to get ourselves back to green. Yellow isn’t bad. Yellow is “I need help, please, help me and provide resources to get me back to where I’m trying to get.” and so that’s when I think about failure. It is an emotionally loaded word and we do tend to associate it with catastrophic failure, but I like to think of it, again in that agile development sense, which is try, try, try, test, fail, and fix. Yeah, I like the definition also, because you could meet a goal, but even if there is something that could have gone better, that’s like, in a way, it’s a small failure that you can learn from I suppose.

I’ve heard lots of people sort of say failure is feedback or failure as an opportunity to learn. What do you think about using different words under circumstances where, I suppose the use of the language around these terms, how we interpret them. Have you got any thoughts there? The language is important and I think when we say that failure is feedback, it’s only feedback if we consume that feedback constructively. If we take every instance of things that didn’t go so great and either go through this sort of, if we criminalize failure, right? If we’re either criminalizing others or criminalizing ourselves for our failure, then we’re not gonna learn, we’re going to be incentive to obfuscate, to hide.

The language around failure, If you’re living and working in an environment where the word “failure” exclusively refers to catastrophic failure, then that language is not going to serve you, and what I tell the people that I work with is I’m actually less wedded to the specific language we want to use than the concept. So let’s find language around things that didn’t go so hot, right? Let’s find language for yourself, for your team, for your organization that keeps people open to learning. So, again, people will use the word “mistakes”. Oftentimes mistakes come from — we think of mistakes as being outside of ourselves. So it’s like in driver’s Ed, we were always taught, well I was taught not to refer to a collision as a collision, not as an accident, because the collision was avoidable and it’s, what are the things that you could have done differently to avoid that collision as opposed to an accident, which is totally out of your hands.

So, finding language for yourself and for your teams that doesn’t rob people of agency around improvement and also doesn’t sugar coat what’s actually going on, which is, something wrong happened, right? Something that needs to not happen again. Does that make sense? Yeah, it makes perfect sense and kind of has a bit more balance as well, because as you say, you don’t want to sugarcoat it, but you do want to improve from it. So yeah, I like to look for balance and things as well. We mentioned or talked about some of the online activity regarding the concept of failure and generally you said it’s a positive thing. I have seen some people, almost there’s like an insincere approach to it in the sense that it’s very easy to, should we say, talk about failure than it is to implement it.

So to give you an example, let’s say you get something wrong, the default approach to that might be, oh my God, I can’t believe I did that and then you kind of move on and no one ever does anything about it. Whereas someone like yourself perhaps might have an approach where you actually learn from that. So if you were to say like a practical example of how to go about learning from failure, what would you advise someone to do? So, I think the first thing to do is to create a practice of recognizing and recognizing without blame. right? So, over the course of the day, take a moment, and if you do this daily, great. If you do it weekly, but find some periodic cadence and it’s not annually or semi annually, right? It’s an actionable cadence where you can actually sit down and think about one of the things that didn’t go great. So maybe at the end of a presentation, you walk out of the room, you turn off the camera, you go get yourself a cup of tea and then you sit down and you say, okay, what went well and what didn’t go well and just spend a couple of minutes doing that.

And if you can identify the things that didn’t go well or the things that you wish had gone differently, and maybe it is a part of the presentation that you wish you’d rehearsed more, maybe you’ve got a question and you feel like you wish you’d responded in a different way. It can be conversations that arose or feedback or pushback that you got that you weren’t anticipating or that you didn’t feel like resolved in a way that was positive for your objective. If you can identify those things, then you can start to think about critically, “What could I have done differently?” And if you can’t think of what you could have done differently, you now have a very specific question that you can use to go out to people that you trust and say, “Hey this didn’t work very well, help me understand what happened here and how I could have done this differently.” You can start to ask for help fixing what happened and what you’ll find is the more you talk about continuous improvement, the more you sort of expose examples and make it part of a conversation you have with others, the more you will normalize this conversation around continuous improvement.

This acknowledgement out loud acknowledgement of things that didn’t go great and what you’ll find is people will then start to come to you with, “Hey, help me understand how I fix this” and now we have a culture, we’re building a culture on our teams, in our personal lives where we can trust each other and we’re not criminalizing mistakes, we’re not criminalizing failure, we can trust each other to help each other course-correct and to provide feedback and advice to each other when I’ve done this. So one of the things that at one point I was a consultant for another firm and I had an analyst working for me and she was very talented. She was new to the space where we were working, but she had a lot of great experience. She had the bones like the right skills and one of the things that she needed to get to the next level for herself was more experience facilitating conversations with groups of clients.

And so we talked about that and I said here is an upcoming opportunity for you to present to this group of clients, it’s going to be virtual, and so to present to this group of clients, to solicit their feedback, to lead the conversation and she said, “I’ve never done that, I’m a little bit scared.” It’s like it’s okay, it’s new, you’re going to be leading, I’m gonna be on the phone, so if you get into a hard spot, I’m gonna help you out of it, you’re not going to fail here, right? You’re not gonna, no one’s going to implode here. This conversation is gonna go great and we’re gonna do it together, but you’re gonna lead, and so I worked with her leading up to that conversation so that she had all of the collateral and she, she practiced, she’d rehearsed and she was ready to go. When she actually delivered The conversation, it was about an hour conversation, there would be 20 client representatives on the phone, and she was asking some tough questions and not every one of those questions did she answer in the way that I would have answered.

But I didn’t interject myself, because she wasn’t failing, right? Like this conversation did continue to go, right, continued to move forward. When we got off the call, after we stood up, walked around, gotten tea and sat back down. She gave me a call and she’s like, “Okay, how do you think that went?” And this was a really important step for her to take. So something that was a little nerve wracking, she’s nervous about doing it. She was very much sort of front and center, and she did get pushed back during the call, but for her to be able to then rebalance, come back and let’s actually talk about what happened and what could have gone better. This was a really important thing for her to do, because then we were able to have a conversation that wasn’t personal, right? This isn’t about how you personally failed here, right? This is about how the conversation went, this is about the work and that this was not a failure of a conversation. This was not a failure of a meeting. There are certain things that I would have done differently and that I think would have led to a better outcome in this particular moment.

And she was able to then, we were able to have a conversation about why she had chosen the responses that she did to some of these situations, why I would have done things differently and it gave her the space to then go tweak her approach going forward, not necessarily just to adopt the way I would do it. Like she’s her own person,  She needs to be able to deliver in a genuine way for herself, but to be able to to sort of again, to modify to tweak her approach and the follow up conversation that we had a week later, I could hear her modulating her approach to drive better outcomes, not only in that individual conversation or that individual meeting, but she also, I could see had done additional pre-work, socializing, bringing our clients on the journey so that people came to the meeting in a better frame of mind, right? She had taken on this feedback, she had taken on board the things that didn’t go very well and she had been able to learn and grow so that the next time she was able to fix it.

These are the situations and these are the instances where we’re able to grow as professionals and as individuals and that’s that’s where the power of acknowledging things that didn’t go so hot, that’s where it really comes into play. Thank you for the example, I think it helps people understand. It does lead me to another question which I was going to ask you about, which is taking that philosophy, if you call it that of learning from failure and encouraging the rest of your team, or introducing the rest of your team to it, and you brought up being the person who leads that by asking for ways to improve and therefore you’re encouraging that behavior. Have you got anything in addition to that? So, acknowledging failure often early for yourself and for others, right? Institutionalizing some of those practices of reflection and reflection with others to ensure that they’re doing it and they’re getting good feedback.

Um also encourage people before they start something. So both as they take on a new project, they take on a new responsibility to go talk to others who have done similar work and to ask what did you wish had gone differently and you start to normalize those conversations in retrospect as well, because people then have an opportunity to talk about where they did things that they wish they had done differently, where they wish things had gone a little differently, what they would do differently when you start to normalize those conversations, even if it’s not about things that are happening in real time. You start to create an environment again, which is really critical to to psychological safety in the workplace. You start to create an environment where missteps are ways the work could have gone differently in ways we should have approached the work differently. They’re not about you personally. It’s not a slam on your sort of and you as an individual, you as a person, it’s about the work and it’s about getting the work right next time.

And by depersonalizing this, it’s not that you’re personally a failure. It’s not that you are sort of mistake written in the way you’re made up and the way you approach things. It is that the work didn’t go as well as we had hoped. And this is a way for the work to happen better next time. And the more transparent we are with each other in real time. When we’re talking about things in retrospect, you know, these are these are practices that create, again a culture of transparency and culture of psychological safety that you really need to be able to build a culture of continuous learning? It’s a great point. Um, it doesn’t make me think about perhaps the people who are, shall we say more sensitive than others. Have you got any thoughts about delivering that feedback in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Sure. Part of that feedback is about asking questions and telling stories about yourself and being being exposing some vulnerability yourself.

So as opposed to getting on the phone after the meeting and saying, well, here’s my list laundry list of things that I wish had gone better from your presentation, thomas, flipping the script and ST thomas. How do you think that went and then thomas, what do you think could have gone better? It’s not just enough to say. I think it went great. I need you to come up with some things that you think could have gone better that you’d like to have done better next, what you like to do better next time. So just think about those things and let’s acknowledge those things. And by asking by asking instead of telling because I’ve got my list of things that could have gone better. But by asking instead of telling, we’re fostering sort of this practice of reflection, but we’re also allowing are subordinate, allowing the person we’re working with to really clearly spell out where they feel safe, right? If I’m asking you, what do you think went well or didn’t go well, you’re not going to say something that’s so cutting about yourself that you then like feel that you need to sort of take the rest of the day off, right?

You’re going to talk about and expose things that you feel comfortable having a conversation about and we can then evolve it if the conversation, if there are bigger things that I think we need to address, we can move from there in an incremental way. But again to your point, not everybody is super comfortable talking about things that didn’t go great. But having that, having that conversation that starts almost like take a socratic approach, right? Having that conversation that starts with questions and then also talking about times where things didn’t go very well for me. So being vulnerable myself. So I asked you this question, what are some things that you think could have gone better? You bring me a couple of things, but they’re not really what I want to get out. Then I might say I saw those and you know, I had an experience, Let me tell you about experience. I had that didn’t go so hot. And then in there, I’m able to then talk about an experience that I’ve had mistakes that I’ve made, that perhaps more closely hew to some of the messages that I want to make sure we communicate in this conversation, um this feedback conversation and what I can say is, you know, I saw some of the beginnings of that here.

Did you see some of those same things? And now you’ve got people on board, you get people were now observing, observing things that happened instead of looking at ways you screwed up. And I like to tell people never hide a dead fish in your desk because yeah, it smells terrible. Everyone knows it’s there, you’re spending more and more of your time. And I think rots more and more. You’re spending more and more of your time trying to hide this thing that we all know is there. But we’re not talking about don’t hide a dead fish new desk, Get the dead fish out. Let’s talk about, let’s talk about how to get rid of it, right, throw it away. Let’s all come clean with each other so that we’re not spending all of our emotional energy, obvious skating, hiding and putting up this this sort of perfect front that isn’t real. Well, I’ve never heard the phrase before, but I think it’s great and I have to use that one. It’s my new favorite. So have you got any examples, should we say for yourself how you’ve used failure to improve your own career or your own business?

Sure. I mean I so I also host a podcast and while I had listened to a lot of podcasts before I started a podcast, I I’ve never hosted one and I’ve never really done a lot of interviewing. And so the first few interviews that I recorded, we’re a little broth ah and they weren’t rough in sort of catastrophic ways, but I listened to them. I could hear myself waiting for people to be waiting for people to breathe so I could ask another question as opposed to responding to what they were actually saying. I could hear myself stuttering and stumbling and using tons of bombs and really struggling with language. And these things were not sort of listening to myself and be listening to recordings. The things that I observed in recording were not the things that I thought of as characteristic of my speech or interaction patterns and it made me more cognizant of.

So the thing, the ways our impressions of ourselves can be wrong. And so what I did is I know I thought about these things and one of the things that I do on my podcast is I go through and I like to take out if if I can isolate and um I’d like to take it out. Not everybody does, but it made me more cognizant of where my own czar and so really focusing on how I speak when I feel the urge to say, um what do I do with that with that rhythm? And then I also listened to the interviews with my husband and I said, hey, will you listen to this with me and let’s go through and like talk about where you think it could be better where you think I need to dig in more. And so the first couple interviews that we listened to, he said, oh wow, this was a really interesting thing your guests said, but you didn’t ask about it, you didn’t dig into it. Why not? These were not huge failures. These were things I could have done much better.

And I like to think that I’m better now. But had I not reached out, like had I not had somebody listen to these things with me, it would have been much harder for me to figure out how to improve my conversational skills in the context of these interviews, how to improve my verbal cadence, you know, when I played the podcast, my mother, she immediately, I was like, mom, listen, this one is a great one, you’re gonna love it, and she came back and she’s like, well, except you rushed, you need to slow down and I’m like, I didn’t ask you for feedback, mom, I was looking for some praise, but that kind of feedback. I mean, this is a way that we fail, this is a way that I, this is a mistake that I made and hearing that separating it from my emotional investment in this project that I was doing allowed me then to change my approach, just not hugely, but Justin tweaks and slightly allow me to change my approach and pivot a little bit to make the product much closer to what I was aiming for in the first place, can you tell me how you get rid of the arms, please?

I’m in somewhat need of this information and congratulations. Also in explaining yourself, while not using an arm. Talking about arms that was particularly good, I may or may not rehearse that in the shower just say it. So I make long drives. Um pretty regularly and sometimes to keep myself awake, I’ll just monologue and people, people driving past me before we all run star speaker phones in the car on our airpods, people just thought I was weird, people may still think I’m weird, but I gotta tell you the last time to figure out the worst time to figure out what you want to say is when, when you actually have to say it. So I I practice, I also, if you’re here, like, I bake in a lot of pauses because I know you can’t say while you’re talking about comes well done anyway, it was, I think it’s impressive and rehearsal is a good answer because I think there aren’t any shortcuts right, really, what I’m looking for in that question is, will you tell me a simple thing that I can completely change my habits on and it’s not there, it’s just the hard work that goes into it, right, or slow down.

And this was feedback that I was doing when I was in business school, I was on a team, really good friends and we were in a case competition, and part of the feedback that one of my colleagues got from the panel of judges was about um and likes and sort of verbal fillers, I use sort of all the time and what this judge said was when you feel yourself doing that just pause or maybe slow down, your entire verbal cadence, your audience will pick up on every um and think you don’t know what you’re talking about, but if you slow down to avoid the ums your audience just thinks you’re kind of a slow talker and that’s fine. Any of our any of our presentation coaches, we’ll tell you you’re speaking too quickly when you’re presenting anyway, Your audience needs you to slow down so they can process what you’re hearing and so slowing down, you can say it’s for your audience, but it can also be for you right slow down so that you know what the next word is and you can organize your thoughts before you say something.

These are things that I’ve heard over time that I’ve tried to incorporate, it’s not perfect. I know because I edit my own podcast and like I pull out loads of filler but and there I did it right there, but they are things that you can think about and work on and sort of listen to in real time. Thank you for sharing the example of the podcast about failure. I did want to ask you about one thing and I think it links to failure, which is about resistance to change because if someone does have a resistance to change, they’re less likely to learn from that failure in quotes any any thoughts there a lot of times failure and perceptions of failure and resistance to change can be linked to the way we think about risk change. So an example here would be we’re going through a process change that’s going to take your job thomas and it’s going to really shift the way you do your job and what you do and you may resist that change because you’ve spent a lot of time and energy building your attitudes and your capabilities and your competencies in this particular way of doing things.

You’ve built a professional reputation based on the way you do this. Perhaps the way you do things makes you particularly particularly good source of a particular kind of information. And now perhaps that information is gonna be available more broadly. And you see your own your own sort of personal currency in the organization, deteriorating all change involves some risk. And in this example, the risk here is that you’re not as important that your personal brand is deteriorated or undercut by the fact that the work is changing. And you may be asking yourself like where do I fit into the organization now? How do I drive value? How do I make sure that I’m not just a cog in the machinery but a really important cog as we think about risk, We can either be risk inclined. So leaning leaning into things we don’t understand leaning into things that are new, leaning into things that are perhaps a little scary or we can be risk averse which is sort of shutting all of that out, sticking with what we know because what we know is safe people and organizations that are really risk averse in my experience tend to avoid, tend to want to avoid failure and so rob themselves of the opportunity to learn from failure, helping some of those people make the leap in change is about helping them understand and develop a sense of safety around taking risks and the way we do that, the way we help people move toward a more risk inclined perspective is about helping them see that it’s safe.

So you thomas and your job is changing, but you bring a lot of really important knowledge to the table, You bring a lot of really important skills and in no way do we see that, do we as an organization? See that as deteriorated by this change, we see that as actually giving you the space to be even more powerful. Risk inclined organizations, risk inclined cultures acknowledge that trying new things is hard and that when you try new things, there’s going to be some failure, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s what trying new things is all about when you learn from failure and so really effective risk inclined organizations are also really good at learning from failure so that when we do make these mistakes, we can recover from them and so helping people on the change journey as we think about about learning from failure is that helping to this?

Care if I I don’t know, I have now lost the words right, but make much less scary. I you know, I tend to agree taking this scary out of trying something new by letting people know that when they try something new and it doesn’t go so hot they have the support to course correct. They had the support to learn and grow and that their fears are not wrong. They’re not illegitimate fears. There are these things that their people are feeling and this is also an environment where we can talk about those fears and suss out why you think perhaps this is the wrong change, why you’re resistant to this change and what we can be doing to try to address some of those fears which may in fact not be explicitly about the fact that we’re going from a series of spreadsheets where you control all the information to a system. It’s now going to your links aren’t going to break in and a plan the way they break in your spreadsheets. You’re not afraid of an a plan so much perhaps as you’re afraid of the loss of control and the loss of sort of proprietary ownership of all of that data and the loss of your this your status as the hub for for that information.

Let’s talk about those feelings and talk about what the future looks like, where you continue to be just as impactful and powerful within the organization in this new process as you were in an old process. And by the way the new process is going to release half of your time so that you can actually do more and better aligned to your values and what you’re trying to achieve. Interesting, I’ve never heard it talked about like that, I was going to ask you about what you thought about the resistance to change actually somewhat being about your attitude. So if you have a positive attitude, you might think resistance to change or change in general could be a positive thing because it might be better for me, whereas people who have perhaps not might be perceived as a negative attitude, they might think well this change is going to be a bad thing for me. Any thoughts there not all change, not all change is going to be great for everybody.

This is something that we, even people who are enthusiastic about change. It behooves those of us who are enthusiastic about change to acknowledge that because it’s true, right? But it’s not catastrophic, it doesn’t have to be catastrophic. Now there are times where change results and layoffs and that can feel very individually catastrophic and I don’t want to detract from any of those feelings that that is absolutely legitimate, but not all the time, like not always is change going to lead to our worst fears when I see people who are really resistant to change really resistant to doing something differently if that they are it is that we are triggering fear for them and how we address that fear because fear is from my perspective, sort of inherently personal, I don’t have these sort of nebulous fears about the way the world is going independent of my own personal situation.

If I have a fear about change in my community, it’s because I’m afraid of the way that’s going to impact the way I live and perhaps the safety of my neighborhood for myself and for my Children, right? All fears our personal the changes that we’re trying to implement in organizations are not personal and so helping people bridge from change resistors, bridge from these fears two to a place where they can move forward in a productive way with the organization. I think it’s about helping people depersonalize change, helping people understand that we’re not being personally targeted and that there is space for the values that they hold today to exist in the future, in the future environment and in the future state. Not everybody is going to go on that journey. People have to want to go on that journey similarly, we have to be willing to acknowledge and bring people along with us communicate, be transparent, be authentic and the way we talk about changing the way we talk about the way change is happening and the people who are interested in making that journey well join us, not everyone is going to join us, but there is this middle group of people who feel resistance to change, who manifest resistance to change but are not the sort of stick in the muds that they may at first appear and if we can acknowledge them as people and help them separate their personal self image from the way the change that’s happening in the workplace or the change that’s happening outside in the world, then we have the power potentially to help move them into the future state.

Thank you for the answer. You’ve highlighted a couple of times how perhaps in work experiences the work is different than the person. So you’re you’re not critiquing the person themselves. You’re just perhaps, I don’t know if critiquing is the right way word, but it’s it’s the work itself rather than the person. Have you got any, I guess, thoughts on that particular topic, teams, we hear a lot that teams that disagree that are able then to do more. The diversity of thought and disagreement and conflicts some level of conflict about the work itself can in fact lead to better outcomes. And there is research that shows that disagreement within a team can in fact lead to better outcomes, but only when that disagreement is centered on the work itself and doesn’t devolve to disagreement and conflict that is personal.

So when we disagree with each other when there’s conflict, when we see change and that we resist that change where we’re able to talk about the work itself, we were able to talk about perhaps a new process getting implemented. Let’s talk about that process. The process itself. What are the points in the process where I feel like you’ve made a misstep where you haven’t brought in all of the right information to make, to propose the right change in the future where we’re able to keep those conversations specifically about the work and not make them about you personally. I’m not telling you that you did a bad job. I’m not saying that you’re the stupidest person I’ve ever seen in my life and like obviously I know what I’m talking about. Obviously this is the way we’ve done it is the way we need to do it in the future. When we start to get into this. This is about you as a person and you and your the way you work and the kind of work product you as a person put out now, this is this is conflict over personal lines and this is where we start to see results deteriorate.

Where we can isolate our our disagreement to the work itself and really keep it work centered. Then we have the potential to build on each other’s perspectives and come out with something better right, come out with a better outcome, a better work product. Perhaps the initial proposal for process change does have gaps by having by providing constructive feedback or critical feedback around those around those elements of the process that the future state process vision that need to be modified, we can come up with a better answer before we go and implement and discover failure, right? We can identify potential points of failure earlier. But again, we as as advocates of our own work are only open to that kind of feedback where that feedback is about the work and it’s not personal. So when you’re providing feedback, not personalizing the feedback, talking, avoiding personal pronouns, why did you structure this this way?

This now feels personal as opposed to help me understand the rationale behind the order here in these process steps, I’m concerned about this particular step. I’m concerned about this particular handoff. When we dropped the personal pronouns and insert the subject being the work itself. We’re able to then have a constructive conversation about the outcome about the work and not about our persons Great advice. I think a lot of the conflict perhaps that you’re referring to in workspaces is just as you said, a language problem where if it was phrased slightly differently, there wouldn’t be any conflict at all. So thank you for the answer. I’m going to go in a completely different direction now, if that’s okay by saying what does success mean to you? Success for me is doing things better today than I did yesterday. It is self referential and it is a continuous process.

When we think about when we think about success as a destination. What we find is we get to that destination and we’re continuing to look at the horizon and so this success doesn’t feel like enough. And so for me thinking about success on a continuous basis, thinking about continuous improvement and taking a moment to celebrate things that went better this month than they did last month, things that went better this time. I tried that last time I tried. I mean, if any of your listeners have kids, there is a moment of celebration every morning that you’re able to get them out the door and where they’re supposed to be without conflict. And it doesn’t happen every day. Some days are a bit of a disaster, but taking a moment to celebrate on the days that it goes well and even celebrate out loud. You know, before the kids get out of out of the car in the morning. Hey, this was a great morning. Thanks for being, Thanks for your help, making this move smoothly.

Taking a moment to celebrate, helps people feel and helps me feel successful and puts me in a more risk inclined, a risk in client attitude for the rest of the day. And so again, celebrating success on an ongoing basis and also, again, being self referential. I’m not comparing the way my morning went to the way the morning went next door. I’m not comparing the way my work was received to the way, you know, joe’s work was received when we compare ourselves to others. We see only the accomplishments and none of the sweat and all works when we experience the sweat, we feel like we’re failing. It’s a really dangerous trap And so focusing on on myself and what I’m trying to do better, defining success as being better than I was yesterday as opposed to being better than the guy next to me. Um and then thinking again about success every day, thinking about the small ways and recognizing the small ways that things are getting better all the time.

These are the ways that I think about success. That’s a great point. Especially like the part where you’re, if you’re referring or comparing yourself to someone else, you’re only looking at the positive things and none of the, as you said the sweat, I think that’s a very, very much worth highlighting what are your goals Alyssa. My goals are I want to expand my audience for the messages that I have are on learning from failure and I want to be able to help others experience the power of continuous improvement and help people understand that they’re almost there today. That it’s small changes in their behaviors. Small changes in the way they choose to look at things that can unlock huge leaps forward, huge potential in their personal productivity and their personal satisfaction and their personal growth within the workplace as as well as within a personal setting.

So my goal is really to help others and to continue to have a larger and larger audience for the work that I’m doing any idea about number at all, you don’t have to, it’s just just point of clarification. So this is a this is a challenge that I have is I don’t like to put numbers on my goals and I know that that’s a terrible idea that the way we track our achievements effectively and candidly is by setting a numeric baseline and then tracking those KPI s as we move forward. I know this but I I find it scary in part because I find it really scary to fail. I also don’t want to fail like I am human, right? And if I set financial goals, if I set numeric goals that I can track, it’s much harder for me two if I miss those goals to come back and and sort of celebrate unabashedly.

And so I recognize this about myself and I do think about numeric goals, financial goals, but I’m not, I’m not there yet. Not with not with this work that I’m doing. I think we’re still in a really big ramp phase with my organization and so I’m not ready to give the world my numbers yet, we’ll fear of failure is a whole nother episode so we won’t go into that today. But I think you’ve been a great guest, lots of lots of really good value in there. I will enjoy watching it back when I do the edit um for people who want to know more or become perhaps part of your audience to so that you can meet your goals, where do they go? So I have a website Blue swift consulting dot com where you can access any of my podcast episodes. There’ll be links there to Spotify, where I would encourage you to subscribe. My podcast is called the Change Artist.

I also have a link if you want to have a conversation about these topics of either for yourself personally or for your organization and talk about how we can bring these, these conversations to your organization through that website. You can, you can fill out a form and I’d be happy to talk to any of your listeners that are interested in learning more. They can also connect with me on linkedin. Alyssa, thank you very much for your time today. You’ve been a great guest. Well thank you so much thomas. This has been a lot of fun.