There are so many events in history, in life and in business that we can… and should… learn from. Some of these we should commit never to repeat. But there’s a cycle in which we experience – acknowledge – forget – repeat. In other words, we experience something, recognize or acknowledge its’ detriment to ourselves or others, and then forget what we’ve learned; thus, condemning ourselves to repeat the unwanted experience. The pattern is so familiar that we literally fall into it without even thinking.
Patterns like this can only be broken on purpose. When we commit to learning from previous experience, we can put an end to the cycle of repetitious insanity and find ourselves on a path forward – in pursuit of meaningful and sustainable change.
“Don’t live the same day over and over again and call that a life. Life is about evolving mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.” ― Germany Kent
So, what does this have to do with your organization, your leadership style or your teams’ working dynamic? Everything!
Moving past the utter relevance I find in the philosophy of Germany’s statement, experiences in businesses create a valuable database for process, procedure, culture, and dynamic. When teams experience success or failure, they do it together – but what they take away from each experience will be very personal. Wading through a myriad of activities that have provided insight that could only have been acquired through the experience, members learn about themselves, their teammates, their working environment (whether it’s collegial or combative), their natural and acquired resource potential, their leaders… They also learn about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they face, both individually and collectively. For your team to learn from the experience, it should be treated as a team experience: win or lose.
Leading Edge: For a team to become healthy or to remain healthy, they must receive your insight (your view from the top and your guidance as the leader) in developing a fuller context for the event. If you are silent, leaving them to figure it out for themselves, they will develop their own separate perspectives which will vary by individual and may eventually cause cracks in an otherwise healthy cultural dynamic.
My advice: Don’t risk it!
Lessons learned should be discussed and documented. Weave these lessons into the fabric of the culture you are creating and protect them as valuable learning experience – available for the future; to be referenced by all. The more you emphasize the learning points discovered, the more secure your team will be as opportunities and challenges are presented. They will pull the new tools from the shed and use them in ways and at times they would never have considered before – and so will you.
Whether your teams experience wins or losses, the spoils and the consequences belong to you as well. You’re all in this together, so don’t abandon your team. Be secure in your leadership. Stand with them and learn alongside them. Respect for one another will increase and your influence will grow. Use the experience as an opportunity to continue building upon the healthy culture you are creating. Dispel the finger pointing of some and the trophy toting of others. Make the experience something that everyone can, not only learn from – but grow from.