How to get what you want by monitoring feedback

If at first you don’t succeed then try, try again. That’s what I learned as a child. But there’s an important step between trying. ‘ Assessing Feedback’.

The kid in the picture swings at the piñata, misses, his brain registers it’s not there (feedback), he swings again but this time with an adjustment, he repeats this until he gets what he wants…goodies.  It sounds simple but it shows that intuitively we all know to assess feedback and adjust accordingly.

All behavior/results are a feedback loop. You try to get what you want. If you fail, you can choose to try the same thing again.  But doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insane…at least Albert Einstein thought so.  Imagine the boy missing the piñata but swinging again, and again in the exact same place.

How to get what you want

Here’s how to get what you want in life and business.  Attempt to discover what went wrong, and what the first try taught you (feedback), adjust your strategy, and try again.  So it looks like this:

Try – Fail – Assess Feedback – Adjust Strategy – Try Again – Fail Again – Assess Feedback Again – Adjust Strategy Again

Do this over and over until you get the result you want.

For marketers this process used to take a long time.  It still can depending on what you’re testing.  However, the rise of social media makes feedback almost instant.  Either users click the ‘Like’ button or they don’t.  Either they share your story with their friends or they don’t.

Something to make you go…hmm!  If we don’t teach kids the important middle step (assessing feedback) we’re simply training them to go insane.

How To Fail Your Way To Success

How To Fail Your Way To Success

Fail Your Way To Success: Why most people don’t

The number one reason people don’t succeed is simply because they fail to start (whatever it is). They become paralyzed by the fear of failing.  To be able to fail your way to success you first have to embrace failure as your best friend.  Realize it’s there to help you.  

Within Each Failure Lie The Seeds To Your Success

Have you ever watched a toddler learning to walk.  Take a step, fall, get up, another step or two, fall, get up, and the pattern repeats until one day the child is walking (and of course walking leads to running).  But there would be no walking, nor running without the falling.  Failure is how we learn, so you see it’s quite possible to fail your way to success.  

Fail Your Way To Success
If you can fail your way to success like these folks did you’ll be in good company.

4 Keys to Fail Your Way To Success

1.  Fail Early

One of the most important keys to fail your way to success is to start trying early in life, your career, etc.  The sooner you start attempting success the sooner you’ll likely find it.  It’s also important to leave yourself enough time in life to enjoy your success.  Robert Kiyosaki says that it took him 3 attempts at business before failing his way to success with with the Rich Dad series.  But because he started early in life when success came in his 30’s he was left with plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

2.  View Failure The Way Thomas Edison Did

Edison failed at the light bulb 10,000 times. When asked about is 9,999 failures he replied ‘I have not failed. I have just found 9,999 ways that do not work’.  Learn to view your failures as a stepping stone instead of an end in your path, and you will developed the correct mindset to fail your way to success.

3.  Fail Fast

Keep the time between failure and the next try short.  The faster you fail the sooner you’ll have success.  Only 1 out of 10 small business succeed, so be willing to start 10 with as little gap in between as possible.  It may not take 10 starts, perhaps you succeed on try #2, or #3.

4.  Fail Forward

Don’t make the same mistake twice.

Fail your way to success – Examples of famous people who did

  1. Michael Jordan failed to make his high school basketball team on his first try, has lost more than 300 games (more than most NBA players have actually played), missed 26 game winning shots, missed more than 9,000 foul shouts.
  2. Starbucks got their business model wrong the first time.  The original focus was on selling coffee beans to customers and teaching them how to grind the beans and make freshly brewed coffee at home. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s when Howard Shultz entered the picture that Starbucks began focusing not on selling coffee beans, but on making coffee, tea, and espresso drinks for customers inside the store.
  3. Oprah Winfrey endured an abusive childhood, and was fired from her first television job because…she was unfit for TV (somebody is eating their words).
  4. As a child Paul Orfalea thought to be dim witted, and placed in a special needs class…he later revolutionized the copy industry when he founded Kinkos.
  5. John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardy were forced to live in their store because they could not afford rent in the early days before founding WholeFoods.
  6. Expelled from school, considered “mentally slow” by his teachers, and “sub-normal” by his own parents, and a laughing stock by many of his peers until he published the “The Theory of Special Relativity” – he’s Albert Einstein.
  7. Considered weird Prince was booed off stages during his early years.  His true musical genius recognized by only a small tribe until 1999 hit record stores (remember those?).
  8. Considered unfit to lead, and rude in 1985 Steve Jobs was booted out of the company he co-founded.  In 1996 he returned, in 1998 introduced the iMac and transformed Apple into the most successful technology company to date.
Remember it’s not about the battle, it’s about winning the war.  If you persist you’ll fail your way to success and be remembered for your successes not your failures.  So pick your head up and keep moving, if you’re failing you’re in good company.
Something to make you go…hmm! “Failure is an event, not a person.” – Zig Ziglar (Thanks Zig)

Think outside the box – Never take No for an answer

think outside the box

Businesses, particularly large ones, are ‘No’ machines.  What do I mean.  Ask if you can have your own blog or website to publish industry information or news – No.  Ask if you can purchase leads from a company other than the corporate provider – No.  Ask if you can do this, ask if you can do that, the answer is likely – No.think outside the box

In 2008 this was the very situation I found myself in at Wells Fargo selling reverse mortgages.  Wells had corporate policies against purchasing leads outside of the approved vendor list and employee sponsored websites (although employees could pay monthly via drafts from pay for the absolutely useless personal sites they provided).  Following this prescription I could not generate enough quality leads, which led to not enough sales, which led to being placed on a performance improvement plan, which is just code word for soon to be fired.

Since I was going to be fired anyway I decided to think outside the box, buck the system a little, and not take ‘No’ for an answer.  I put up my own industry website, and ran my own online advertising campaign for lead generation.  The result – more quality leads than I could actually handle, which led to increasing my sales volume by 600% (I went from making less than 1 average sale per month to 6 sales per month).

And what was the company response when they found about my willful disobedience?  It was – Rodney you’re going to need a full-time assistant to help you manage your volume.  We’d like to hire one for you.

Refusing to take no for an answer always leads to good things

Consider the very organization you work for.  Research it’s beginnings and you’ll find that it’s founder(s) were people who think outside the box, system buckers who refused to take no for an answer.  Without knowing who you are I can write this with complete confidence because I know that to start any business entrepreneurs have to over come a ton of negative influence and be willing to buck systems and think outside the box.

What good things did my refusal to take no for an answer lead to?

  • Setting up my own website and advertising led to a dramatic increase in quality leads which led to
  • A 600% increase in sales, which led to
  • Not being fired and Wells Fargo hiring me a personal assistant which led to
  • The regional manager noticing what I’d done and asking if I would run a test project to do it by the rules, which led to
  • Me calling Google to help put the project together, which led to
  • The Google AdWords rep looking at my personal AdWords account and saying you’re good at this ever consider doing it for a living, which led to
  • My startup called JugHead Media, which lead to
  • Being accepted into the Google Engage program, which led to
  • Becoming a Google Certified Partner, which led to
  • Being invited to Google NY headquarters, which led to
  • Meeting Seth Godin in person who said “Start your own personal blog” (He said it to the group), which led to
  • This blog, which led to
  • David Meerman Scott reading a response article on my blog last week, which led to
  • A personal email from him letting me know he found the article insightful…which absolutely made my day

Ok by now hopefully you get the point.  Which is find the courage to refuse to take no for an answer it will ultimately lead good things.

Innovation requires more than your ability to think outside the box

Bucking the system, refusing to take no for an answer is just another way of saying think outside the box.  Except the problem is that most people who think outside the box don’t actually get outside the box.  That is their thought is not followed up with action.  Innovation and change  can only occur when thought turns to physical action.

How do organizations go from outside the box thinking, system bucking, never take no for an answer mavericks to drone producing, non-innovating, maintainers of the status quo?

They become successful and grow. In most cases once organizations reach a certain size the desire to not loose what they have out weighs the desire for growth.  So regulations go into place to protect the company and they become ‘No’ machines. Exceptions to the rule – Apple & Google.

Let me say that I’m not advocating that employees go out and violate all company policies.  Some policies are needed and should be followed.  But growth and innovation occur when individuals are willing to bump up against rules that just don’t make sense.

Think Outside The Box Like These People

Off the top of my head here’s a short list ambassadors of innovation and change that went beyond ‘thinking’ out the box to ‘doing’ outside the box.

  • The original settlers of the United States of America
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • John F Kennedy
  • Robert Kennedy
  • Gandhi
  • Princess Diana
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Steve Jobs

Don’t be afraid to ever think outside the box.