Failure. A mere word that seems to make many of us stop in our tracks at some point or other. I love to build strategies and think of every single angle. I love to handle negotiations and play out every possible outcome in my head before the meeting ever starts. I love to write and go back over every piece of to ensure it’s just right. I find I drive myself batty sometimes thinking of every detail, angle, and strategy before experimenting with what will actually work.
Now don’t get me wrong – most times in my line of work, this is a good thing. However, sometimes it’s just best to put one foot in front of the other and start to move – even if you don’t think of every single angle.
Many years ago, I worked in a fundraising department. I mostly worked with the major donors and therefore some of their last names alone could be intimidating. I found myself stewing over what I would say to a particular donor to line up a meeting. Should I call? Should I write an email? What should I say or write? How much more could I read up on the donor to be prepared? I went ahead and just emailed this particular donor thinking this was the safest and easiest bet (and I really needed to get the meeting nailed down). No response. Emailed again. A couple of weeks go by and I get a response telling me I misspelled a word in my email. Failure on my spelling/grammar? Yes. Failure on my overall goal? No. I finally got a response and ended up getting a meeting nailed down a week later. One failure led to another success.
I find myself applying the theory of “failing fast” in both arenas I work in – sales and marketing consulting. During any of my sales mentoring sessions, I always remind folks that the faster you get to a “no”, the closer you are to a “yes”. Most people will only say “no” so many times and as long as you’re building the relationship on solid ground, you’ll find something that they will eventually want to say “yes” to. And don’t get me started on social marketing. Any organization that really wants to find their way to success in the world of social marketing, better get used to failing fast so they can learn what ultimately works best. If your organization is afraid to fail and slow to act, don’t bother with deep investments in social marketing.
Well, I’ve only re-read this a couple of times and I’m going to post it. So if this blog is a failure, please let me know and then I’ll write another blog about how to fail at blogging and get back up quickly.
Written by Cathy Huff, CEO of Fetch Multimedia