How Fast Do You Fail?

It’s a serious question. Do you fail quickly, recognize what you might be doing wrong, and then move on? Or, do you keep doing the same thing even when your results are not what you want, hoping today will be the day that delivers a different outcome?

I was reading the latest CFO magazine and this headline jumped out at me …

“We fail fast, learn, and move on!”

It was particularly compelling because I had just finished reading my “Ask the Headhunter” newsletter (which if you don’t get, you’re missing great information) in which Nick talked about the importance of initiative in a job search. 

Here are my thoughts on the differences …

With initiative and a fast fail mindset.

These CFOs recognize that they have the most power while they are passive candidates. They are happily employed, not looking, AND on the radar screen of recruiters who are looking for high-value targets. They understand their unique value and can clearly articulate their message. 

They are proactively managing their careers, often collaborating with a career expert and/or mentor to fill in the gaps around what they don’t know in order to keep the momentum moving forward and pivot quickly when necessary, thereby avoiding an all out “face slam to sidewalk” failure.

If these finance leaders are in the midst of an active job search, they have done the hard work to clarify a differentiated, clear, and compelling message; they are networking online and offline; and they are targeting companies and people, not posted positions.

With a false sense of initiative and a slower learning mindset.

These CFOs are often active job seekers who were lulled into a false sense of security in their previous position. They felt safe and secure. Sadly, job security today is an illusion. These finance leaders may have even worked themselves out of a job, in which case they were so busy wrapping up details they shelved their careers thinking, often incorrectly, they would get their next job quickly.

After a few weeks, feelings of discouragement, anxiety, and rejection begin setting in, and then procrastination happens. Which often leads to one of two things. This job seeker gets sucked into the job posting vortex – or – convenient excuses are constantly in the way of actually conducting an effective job search. Both serve to protect the relentless assault on one’s ego from hearing nothing or being rejected.

The lack of a fast-fail-and-learn mindset means he will keep on doing what he’s been doing hoping for a different outcome. It “can” happen; it just doesn’t “often” happen … or happen quickly.

What will you do today? Fail fast, learn, and move forward; or fail slowly, learn nothing, and then repeat?

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