Fear of Failure Reduces Productivity


All too often when we are asked to take on a role, job, or task where we have little experience, our fear of failure will stop us cold.  We might even pass up a promotion, or take on a new responsibility because we might fail.  Have you ever noticed that our fear of failure reduces our ability to be productive?

Training Managers that are asked to bring about a new learning method, program or change the way they do business will often get excited at the news and seem almost thrilled at first.  Yet when months go by and nothing has been implemented, one needs to ask why?

If the budget is in place, and the support from management is with you, what else could be keeping you from implementation?

I am finding it difficult to help people become successful until I can get them to cross the bridge from their fear of failure to trying.  If you are completely ill-equipped to pull off an initiative, then you must be willing to seek help.

I’d like you to think about two scenarios that could play out over time when you are asked to take on a new project and you are unsure how to actually make it happen.

Scenario #1

You receive the request to review, select and purchase a Learning Management System, and have it implemented in 90-days.  You realize this is way over your current competency at the moment so you ask for help to hire an experienced consultant.  You get approval, spend the extra for the consultant and in 90-days your new LMS has been implemented.

Scenario #2

In this scenario you decide that you can figure this out.  No sence in telling anyone this is your first time, and you plunge into the project and in 90-days, you have kicked up a lot of dirt, but you have not even selected a LMS provider, let alone negotiated and implemented the system.  Your company has just paid you 90-days of salary and benefits and what did they get in return?

I want us to realize that we are not going to be accomplished at everything we are asked to do.  I personally evaluate an assignment on my current abilities and the abilities of my staff before I accept any kind of time-table for implementation.  When I realize I cannot produce the results on time or at all, I raise the red flag.  I get the help I need because I asked for it early!

When you don’t waste the company’s money paying you for a job you are not able to do, and then try to ask for help and money later, you are losing credibility.  However, if you are honest with people and set realistic expectations, then you both win.

I wonder, are you wasting time and resources on something today that you could accomplish if you had the right help?  Is it time to face your fear and increase your productivity?

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