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Managing Failures

In: Business and Management

Submitted By rakeshjain
Words 1047
Pages 5
Even after investing over 10 lakhs in an MBA degree from one of highly advertised business school, Rajesh is still looking for an entry level job which can fetch him atleast 20-25,000 rupees per month so that he can start repayment of the loan his farmer father had taken from village landlord to finance his MBA. Rajesh completed his engineering from a private engineering college with a hope that he will be able to get a regular job which will minimize the uncertainty attached with the earnings from agriculture. He has seen his father losing sleep every year, when the rain gods played mischief. He has felt the anxiety at home till the time the payment for each crop was realised and all the small borrowings taken during the season for the crop were repaid.
His father tried to fulfil all his financial needs so that he can be what he wants to be. Rajesh studied hard during his engineering course but he could not get any job during campus placements. After futile job search for over one year, few friends advised Rajesh to get an MBA degree. They said that MBA is a sure shot way to get a highly paid and high ranked job in a large MNC. He was lured by big advertisements of business schools which promised the students an ultra-modern campus and dream jobs. But even after attending over 25-30 job interviews, the best job he was offered was of sales executive with a “CTC” of rupees 2.5 lakh per annum but having fixed salary component of less than 10,000 rupees a month.
Most of us reading this true story will perceive the reason for Rajesh’s problem to be “Lack of skills or knowledge”. However the careful analysis leads us to a completely different perspective of the situation. The actual problem with Rajesh was that while his ambitions were high, he was not well prepared to handle failures. In fact his high ambitions made each failure appear bigger in his self appraisal. Moreover because he was the only one in his family who have studied ‘so high’ so he didn’t find anyone in family worthy of guiding him on such a grave issues. He could not even express his frustration amongst his college friends for the fear of social reprimand because most of them have been able to secure a job. These failures pulled him into a downward spiral wherein he lost his self confidence and hope leading to frustration and desperate actions.
While each school teaches us how to be successful, no one teaches us how to face failures. While every management thinker propagates the idealism of failures as the greatest teachers, very few books or teachers teach us about failures. Our changing social norms celebrate success but castigate failures. One is made to believe that failure is for losers and winners take the crown. Our tolerance towards failure is coming down day by day. We are goaded towards being a success by hook or by crook. But is it a healthy situation? Can we eliminate failures? How should we handle the failures? What should one do to rise out of downward spiral of successive failures?
Most of us respond to a failure either in form of helplessness, shame, self criticism, anger, depression etc. These all are negative emotions which make it difficult for us to look at the other side of failure. The worst situation is that our fear of failures limits our ability to take risk and realize our full potential. An old saying says that while success gives you professional growth, failures provide you personal expansion. But the catch is how we deal with failure. We need to understand that failures are not always bad.
Though most of us are socially programmed to ‘externalize’ our failures, we should learn to look internal during each failure. We can learn to live comfortably with failures. Infact a management thought says that effectiveness comes through good judgement; good judgement come through experience and experience comes through bad judgements. Failure is perceived to be the outcome of our bad judgements. So knowingly or unknowingly, each failure makes us more effective.
The following strategies can help you overcome the fear of failures and help you to learn and lead from each failure. 1. Accept failures: the first strategy to overcome the fear of failure and to prevent it from overpowering your mind is to accept that outcome of a situation was against your plans and desires. Unfavourable outcome does not mean no outcome. We should learn to identify and acknowledge each outcome however unfavourable and unexpected that outcome might be. 2. Don’t compare outcomes: the most common mistake that we do is when we start comparing the outcomes from our situation/actions with the outcomes of others. Learn to accept that each situation is unique and the outcome of each situation can be different. We label an outcome as failure only when we compare our outcomes with others. 3. Understand the benefits of failures: even if you failed in a situation, the failure is not complete if you identify the reasons and benefits of the failure. As a quote says, “Even when you lose, don’t lose the lesson”. Consider each failure as a trial in an experiment and an opportunity for growth. 4. Research the alternatives: identify the possibilities still existing in the given situation. Explore the available options for further action. Carefully analyse the changes in the situation which might have occurred because of your earlier actions. 5. Make Plan B: now that your plan A has yielded you unexpected and unfavourable outcomes, start working towards plan B. Plan B is called the contingency plan and it should be implemented in the situation wherein Plan A has failed. Plan B should include learning and lessons from Plan A. 6. Seek social support: the most common mistake that one does during failure is that one isolates oneself socially. Infact sudden isolations are considered as social indicators of failure. Accept that you are not alone. There is NO ONE on this earth who has never faced failures. Seek guidance and support from family, friends and your elders. Elders particularly have rich repository of ways to manage failures.

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