Are You Ready to Claim the Right Things You’ve Done?

We’re Awfully Good at Debriefing Failures and Just Toasting Our Success

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It takes a team to achieve a major business initiative. The research, the trials, the final product, the sampling effort, the trade shows, the tests and metrics, the PR, marketing, and social media effort designed amplify the buzz all took people, time, money, resources invested where it counts.

And when that sort of investments fails, we’re all over it to figure out where it went wrong. We hold meetings to debrief our choices, our missteps, and errors like so many grains of broken glass ground down to sand. In the name of learning from our mistakes we own our loses like so many merit badges. Sometimes we beat the losing horse until it’s long past dead with a mantra never to forget or to repeat the mistakes we made again.

But when we win, we toast to our success and move ahead.
What if we put the same rigor to debriefing our success?

How to Claim the Right Things You’ve Done

We’re great about learning from our losses. We’re not so great a learning from our success. A quick look at Bloom’s taxonomy will show that what we often do when we debrief a losing situation is we work all of the way up from knowledge through evaluation of what didn’t work.


Suppose we followed that toast to our success with an equally granular discussion of what worked with our success? It might look like this.

  • Knowledge – What it is we accomplished? What were the key parts that led to the success?
  • Comprehension – What do we know now about the project, the team, the customers that we didn’t know before?
  • Application – How can we use what we’ve learned from this success to build the next initiative like this one?
  • Analysis – How is this project similar and different from other projects we undertake?
  • Synthesis – What overall learnings can take forward from this success?
  • Evaluation – How as this win change what we understand about what we do as a business?

Raise that toast to your success. Then ask the six simple questions to claim what you’ve won.
The moments of reflection that bring you to the answers are the time you need to incorporate, internalize, and own what you’ve done — to move the “winning behavior” from a possibility into a natural response.

The evaluation of the win is the way to claim your rewards, to own them, and to leverage that learning from then on.
When you own your success, it shows every time you walk into a room. That’s how claiming rewards from success leverages itself into more success.

The good news is we can all go back — alone or with our teams — and claim our rewards for every success we’ve ever won.

Not everything we learn has to come from what we do wrong. Are you ready to learn from every right thing you’ve done?

Be irresistible.

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!

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  1. says

    Great angle for yet another way to grow, learn, and develop a success model every time. Not every effort is either a complete success or failure, as there can be mixed results, from which we can apply your 6 questions to be asked.

  2. says

    Liz – I love this reminder because I am pretty rigid about dissecting my failures 18 different ways. I’m not very good at the same thing for successes. Good way to put parameters around how to do this in a way that doesn’t just skim over the good stuff!

    • says

      It only seems easier to learn from failure because we’ve got so much practice at doing that. The model is the same all we have to do with a success is stop and ask ourselves the same questions about the win as we do about the loss. :)

  3. says

    Liz – This was the perfect piece for me to read today. I love the two lines “When you own your success, it shows every time you walk into a room. That’s how claiming rewards from success leverages itself into more success.” That really made me see that the opposite is true also – when I am only focused on dissecting my failures, that shows when I walk into a room too…and then that state leverages itself into more self-beatup which leads to other failures. yikes. not a pretty picture. I will take this on as a challenge today and really look deeply (and joyfully) at what I can learn from “what’s gone well.” Mega-thanks!

    • says

      How perceptive of you to home in on the exact reason I wrote this and bring it together in such a fine way. Yep, I see plenty of us walking into the room as the people we used to be or the people who own our mistakes. I’ve decided that being one of those people doesn’t work for me. :)

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