I’ve always been a big fan of the following saying by one of UK’s best remembered prime ministers, Winston Churchill.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.”

At Ambiente we put this at the top of the orientation materials for our new joiners and stress that whilst of course we strive for success, on occasions we’re bound to hit roadblocks.

Let’s face it, everyone’s happy to receive positive feedback; compliments are great for one’s morale.  But the brickbats are equally important as the bouquets.  Otherwise, how can we expect to grow, to develop skills and knowledge, to build confidence and self-esteem?  As long as the job is approached with enthusiasm, professionalism and service with heart, in my book this goes a long way to balancing any failures.

Admitting an error often takes guts but, in the end, earns respect.   I recently had some wall shelving installed.  The 4 young men doing the installation clearly mis-measured and needed to drill additional unsightly holes in the wall to get the job done.   No one would man up.  I was getting cross. They tried a cover up tactic with me … the wall is not straight was one excuse.  Then one of the team admitted that yes, it was his mistake, he’d marked one of the bracket holes 1.5cms out of line.  I appreciated that he’d taken responsibility.  My annoyance eased and we worked together on fixing the problem.

We have at Ambiente a review process which we call ‘Lessons Learned’.  This can be a formal sit down of the team or a casual ‘water cooler’ chat.  At the end of each completed assignment, be it a sale, a purchase, a lease or one of our consultancy projects, we discuss what went well and what could have gone better.  Anecdotes are shared.  Solutions are suggested.

It’s interesting how empowering we’ve found this to be for individuals when they’re invited to contribute to a collective knowledge base of experiences and problem solving.

There’s another saying that also comes to mind, “What goes around comes around.”   You’ve probably experienced this yourselves, that fate has a quirky way of coming back to reward one if you’ve done your absolute best but were not able to complete a job successfully – or in the business of real estate to find a client what they are looking for at the time.  A referral maybe or later request for assistance.  Its karma!

And to come back to Winston Churchill, he’s right, success is not final.  Particularly in a service industry we are only as good as the last meal served, the last advice given, the last deal done.  The service cycle continues, we remain on our toes with the courage to keep going through lessons learned.