By Steve Moran

One of my big failures has been not organizing my email inbox. I probably shouldn’t confess this, but right now there are more than 39,000 emails in my work account, and more than 15,000 of them are unread. It sounds pretty terrible but it is actually not quite as bad as it sounds. Here is why:

  • I keep nearly every email I have ever received that I might ever want to access – so that might represent 10,000 or more emails
  • Most of the unread emails are various kinds of promotional or marketing emails that I should have deleted but didn’t

In order to make this better, over the course of a few days, I did a major reorganization of my in-box. I created a bunch of filters that now send most of the newsletter and promotional emails I still want to glance at to a folder titled “Mostly Junk”. This makes it a lot easier to once a day go through and figure out what I want to look at and what I have time to look at, and then dump the rest.

In doing this, I came across an old email promotion from Amy Porterfield where she talked about her purposeful and deliberate goal of failing more in the coming 12 months.

Why Failure Should Be a Goal

We as humans are programmed to not fail. Because failing is not fun and can even result in disaster. The best and easiest way to minimize the risk of failure is to keep doing the same old things we have always done, because we know how to do them and that they work.

The problem is . . . well the two problems with this are:

  1. The world is constantly changing, and just because something worked a while ago does not mean it will continue working. Think Kodak, Palm Pilots, Blockbuster Video, Circuit City. . . the list is endless.
  2. Just because what you are doing today works, does not mean it is the best way to do something. This, for senior living, is the bigger risk. What we are doing today is working okay, and will likely for some fairly long period of time, continue to work . . . at least sort of.

    The big what-if question is this: WHAT IF THERE IS A BETTER WAY? A way that serves residents better, that serves team members better, that makes you as an operator more money.

Experiments Risk Failure and Success

Finding a better way only happens by doing experiments and some experiments are bound to fail. But every failure is a lesson about what doesn’t work and/or what needs to be improved. Failures are only failures when you don’t learn anything from them.

Experiments need to be thought out so that you minimize the risk. This might mean baby steps or pilot projects. It will certainly mean making adjustments along the way.

The Trap

The single biggest experiment trap that exists is the experiment that you are unwilling to abandon when it is reasonably clear that failure is inevitable. My own story . . . I have for a long time believed there is a golden business opportunity for someone to start doing “unboxing” / “product demonstration” videos for senior living communities. I actually still believe this is true.

Since no one has done it, I decided to do it myself, even though my team was less than thrilled with the idea. I registered a domain name, made arrangements with two senior living communities to come in and shoot some video, and hired a videographer.

After a day of shooting, I came away not very happy with how it went, but the videographer went to work editing the piece. After a couple of weeks of thinking about it, I realized that it was not the right thing for me to do, it was not the right thing for Senior Living Foresight to do.

I pulled the plug on the project, paying the videographer for the work he did. It cost me some money and was a failed experiment, but so what? Now I know not to do that. Now it is not eating at me as something to try.

Lot’s of Success

Every single part of Senior Living Foresight you see is the product of experiments that worked. There are many others that didn’t work, and without those failures, we would not be where we are today.

Plan some experiments this year and know that some will fail, but others will turn into marvelous, wonderful, life-changing initiatives, making the failures seem insignificant.

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