Even with a really strong vision, strategy, goals and action plans you are not immune from failing to achieve the success you want. It is important to keep in mind that some failure or screw ups are part of the jounrey to success. Put there are things you can do to reduce the risk and frequency of this happening.

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5 Days to Change for Success – Day 4: How to Avoid Failure

How to avoid Failure - Measure SuccessThis is day 4 in the 5 day Change for Success Series. Links to the previous posts in the series are at the end of this post.

Even with a really strong vision, strategy, goals and action plans you are not immune from failing to achieve the success you want.

It is important to keep in mind that some failure or screw ups are part of the journey to success. But there are things you can do to reduce the risk and frequency of this happening.

Here’s how:

A key factor in failing to achieve success

When people create their vision, strategy, goals and action plans they sometimes stop right there thinking they have done what they need to do to create change and success. Huge mistake!

The key to avoid failure – have a measure and review process

In order to create consistent and sustainable results it is essential that you have a structure, system and framework to measure your progress as you go. The information that comes out from that will inform what your next steps should be and if you need to adapt, tweak or change your plans. It will help you stay on track.

Why a measurement process and framework is critical to avoid failure

Ok, so there you are with your vision, great goals and thorough action plans.

How do you know it is or will deliver the results you want? How will you spot, in advance, potential problems so that you can take action to avoid them? The answer is that without a measurement and review process you can’t.

The bottom line is this:

If you aren’t measuring the results of your action plans as you are going along it is like going off on a journey blindfolded. You are setting yourself up for lots of setbacks, obstacles and possibly failure.

Tips for Creating a measurement process

For every area of your life, work and relationships, write down key factors that impact you achieving the results you really want.

  • Set monthly targets for each point on the list.
  • Set up a chart that shows target and actual figures for each point
  • Complete and review the chart monthly
  • Ask yourself questions like why has that figure gone up (or down)
  • Use the information to drive your action plans for the following month

I can’t stress enough how important doing this is yet it is so often overlooked.

If you really want to reduce your risk of failure in your life, work and relationships, set up a measurement and review process that you do at least monthly and use it to drive your decision making and action plans.

The key to consistent and sustainable results lies in this activity. Ignoring it is gambling with your chances of success.

In the last day of this 5 day mini series we will be exploring the one obstacle to real success. In the meantime, if you missed any of the series so far, you can find the links to them below:

Download Your Free Transformation in Action Self-Assessment Workbook.

  • Hi Ali,

    I completely agree with you. This year, I have set up both big goals for my business and what I consider to be key measures. I have also instigated a performance review process for myself where I look at big targets monthly and smaller tactical things weekly. (To make this both meaningful and interesting for myself, I combine it with a trip to my coffee shop, where I have a “breakfast meeting” with myself and expense it, like any other coffee shop business meeting.) This is helping me enormously.

    If I have one question it is how one can be sure that the things one is measuring are indeed key? My gut feel is to run with what I've got and to keep checking in with myself whether or not the things I'm paying attention to are really making a difference on the big goals and if they're not to question the measure. What do you think?

  • Christine, I love what you have set up. Particularly the going somewhere else to do your business reviews. I do the same and find it really helps me keep focussed and avoid distractions!
    To answer your question – a tip for making sure you are measuring key things – think of the typical board of director functions. Think what each director would be measuring for his area. If some of the areas aren't your strength or expertise, who do you know that does have experience of these areas. Ask them. Also, don't just include business related stuff. Include lifestyle related stuff too such as how many hours you want to work each week, spending time on things your love and so on. Hope that helps.
    This whole area of measurement is so crucial I will be doing some more in depth stuff on it over the coming weeks. I am also in the process of collating resources which I will be putting on the website in a free resources library which will include “how to's” and action lists.

  • That's an awesome bit of advice, Ali, which I really “get”. I'll review my goals from that perspective. I particularly like the bit about putting lifestyle stuff in the mix too.

    Looking forward to reading more from you on this!

  • Glad you found it useful. You can also search the web for KPI libraries and see what you get back. I know from the past that you can find some good resources online too.

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  • Ali,

    This is a great post and I think Chistine's strategies typifies how simply the job is.

    The 'F' word, how much people fear that word. Why is it people fear the word so much? It surprises me why there is so much fear attached to it, for two reasons.

    First, a simple performance measurement strategy like you have suggested will help ensure you are able to clearly track any deviations in your output and make an necessary alterations.

    Secondly, there's nothing like a little failure to let you know where your next learning needs to be.

    Thank you for sharing.



  • I agree, it is a shame so many people attach fear to failure instead of seeing it as a message and opportunity to do something different that will lead to where you want to go. For me, the word failure falls into the same category as setbacks and obstacles. Things only become a failure if we label them as such. I prefer to see things that don't work out as I had thought as just a message to change tack or I need to do something different to get the result. Also, I beleive that if we always learn the lesson in something that hasn't worked as we had planned then it is never a failure.

  • Haralee

    Great post on reasoning and actions and results.

  • Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • It’s that high achiever thing for me. No, that’s not me, but I’ve been surrounded by super high achievers all my life and that has tended to leave me intimidated. Fear of not measuring up, I guess. We’re always told not to compare ourselves to others, but how can we help doing that? Thanks!

  • I think the key is to keep focussed on who we want to be and the results we want to achieve and measure our progress against that. Then as you move forward it doesn’t make any difference what anyone else is doing because you are making steps forward on your own journey.