When Results are Disappointing

by Janice Giannini

With a deep mastering at the intersection of IT and business strategy, consultant, board adviser and former C-suite executive, Janice has been harnessing the true power of IT for more than 30 years. An Executive and Board-level digital strategist at the intersection of risk and IT, she enhances competitive position through vision and equity with large-scale risk identification, quantification and mitigation in an ever-changing marketplace, generating long-term value for clients. She engages with senior executives and teams, particularly in complex businesses where misalignment is blocking their desired success, to develop and execute practical business strategies and plans. Clients have found her especially helpful when they recognize they must integrate an eagle's eye and worm's eye view in order to identify and remove obstacles. Janice has consistently taken on those challenges that others chose to run from. This typically involves those challenging times when failure is not an option and integrating business, technology and people changes must be accomplished simultaneously. As a result, many of her clients are complex organizations who won't settle for anything less than developing widespread professional competence.

When we are feeling disappointed about the results we produced I often wonder if we truly understand the sources of our disappointment.

Are we disappointed simply because of the result itself or are we really disappointed in ourselves because of our choices? For example, did we bail out too soon because we didn't question all assumptions, push the edge of the envelope enough, gave up to soon, and went along in order to just keep our heads down in uncertain economic times? Did we lead when we needed to lead and follow when we needed to follow?

Frequently in life and work, the greatest travesty is not missing a commitment, not reaching a goal, or making a mistake. It will happen. We are human. The greatest travesty is the disappointment we feel in ourselves. Unmet expectations if left unaddressed, can cause an emotional spiral that negatively impacts our willingness to keep future commitments.

So, what have you done for yourself lately to set challenging and achievable goals? What are your expectations of yourself in all of this? What are you, as a team, doing to set challenging and achievable goals for the team? What are each team members' expectations of themselves?

If you haven't asked yourself these questions lately, I invite you to take a few moments and do so. The responses might provide insight.

  • How satisfied are you with all the areas in your personal life as well as your professional life?
  • As you list out where you are satisfied and not satisfied, what are the common themes?
  • The last time something "blew up in your face", what specific action did you take to minimize the probability of it happening again?
  • The last time the team stumbled, are you pleased with how you all handled the post mortem discussion? If you are, what did you do? If not, what are you going to do differently the next time?

Disappointment can be instructive if handled appropriately. Frequently disappointment in a business environment can lead to dips in morale, increase in frustration, more missed commitments and creating an overall environment of "maybe that is good enough" versus "the best we can be." So, what are two actions you can take, today, to improve your environment so disappointment is instructive and not destructive?

Determine two actions you can take today to improve your environment. Going forward ensure that disappointment is instructive and not destructive.