Fear of Failure

Matt Koop
Contributing Writer
The New Flat Rate

“How does a technician learn how to properly wire a motor?   By burning one up!”  Matt Koop

It’s funny to me that technicians in the HVAC trade know this one by heart and we all laugh about it and yet many times we overlook the lesson the joke teaches us.   The lesson is simple.  It’s ok to make mistakes and to “break” something to have a breakthrough in your skill set or even your career.

It is very easy to look at a professional athlete or a millionaire/billionaire and wish we could be as successful as them.   However, how many of us are actually aware of the amount of failure people like Steve Jobs experienced in their lifetime before achieving success?

An expert said of Vince Lombardi, who is considered by many to be one of the best and most successful coaches in professional football history, “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Lombardi would later write, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”  Fear cripples a grown man and derails them from their vision.  Yet failure is like a wild fire in a savannah.   Although fire may bring about complete destruction, still life springs from the ground after desolation.

So, if failure can bring about success, how can we as owners and managers allow our technicians to error in the little things and create stepping stones of growth and success? 

I once heard a story about a corporate executive who made a mistake that cost the company 1 million dollars.  I don’t know about you but I am sure a $1,000 mistake would have been enough for most owners to dismiss that individual from the company.   However, this executive was not fired because of his mistake.   When questioned, the CEO of the company simply stated, “I could fire the individual and have his replacement make that same mistake and now have a mistake cost my company 2 million instead of 1 million.”  The moral of the story is that the CEO was sure the individual would never do the same mistake again.  Instead, his executive had learned a valuable (and expensive) lesson that he would take with him throughout the rest of his career.

As managers and owners, if you are going to grow and build your company, start with baby steps.  Allow your techs/staff to make small mistakes, but help them learn from those mistakes.  Become a transformative leader that invests in growing your team, not just a transactional type of leader that shadows the team because you have to do it yourself. Always keep this in mind, growth is in fact a 2-way street.  If a member of your team makes mistakes and shows no sign of growth or commitment to improvement, at one point or another it may be time to part ways.

Translate your experience and knowledge into systems that can run your business.  Once you have created them, find and groom the right people to run those systems. Finally, Assess, Adjust, Implement and Repeat.  One day you’ll look back and be truly grateful for the mistakes…they are what get you to the next level of success.  

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *