Reflecting on Lessons Learned: About Things in Business You– Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda… Done Different…

Lessons learned is simply about reviewing your own actions, or the actions of others relative to dealings in business… Usually, lessons learned are about reviewing negative or undesired outcomes, but that does not need to be; successful endeavors also need to be reviewed just as much as unsuccessful endeavors…

There is an old proverb which states: An ‘individual’ learns from their mistakes… a ‘wise individual’ learns from the mistakes of others… a ‘fool’ never learns… There is no reason why we cannot all become wise and learn from the mistakes of others, and there is no reason to repeat mistakes of others… Business is all about the choices you make… and it’s the hard work, tenacity, and most important learning from both success and failure that ultimately determines success…

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But it’s all about you; about what you are prepared to do in order to be successful… and lessons learned are not merely about just your experience but also about the experience of others… it’s about the outcome of a learning process, which involves reflecting on all experiences… Neither evaluations of facts, findings, studies… by themselves, will yield actionable lessons… Meaningful lessons must be produced (i.e., distilled, extracted) from all sources of experience… its common practice for business executives to just refer to– recommendations, studies… when, in fact, lessons learned from actual experiences are much more valuable…

In the article Business Lessons Learned From Rocky Movies by Alex Atzberger writes: I must confess the lessons learned from the Rocky movies are as relevant now as they were four decades ago– particularly for business leaders… There are the obvious lessons, such as; it ain’t about how hard you hit but about how hard you can get hit… Year-end can be a tense time and we could all use a little kick to get through it– inspiration can come from anywhere, even the movies.

The movie ‘Rocky’ is timeless story that carries many lessons that can pick you up and motivated you to push a little harder: Go a little longer and finish even stronger… But if you dig a little deeper, there are a few more lessons that can inspire you to finish the year strong and put yourself in a position to win next year… Here a few to consider:

  • Identify your real purpose– Lesson: Focus on the true purpose of  your business. Ask; Why does your business really exist? The answer will inspire– you, your customers and attract the best employees much more than just the latest battle slogan…
  • Don’t slack on training– Lesson: Success comes from what you do leading-up to the main event. Don’t cut training short; remember– nothing replaces preparation…
  • Go the distance– Lesson: Don’t set unachievable goals. Address challenges openly, and not doing so is a recipe for failure. Also, most important, know that every person in a company– big or small– makes a difference…
  • Earn it every day– Lesson: There is no room for complacency in business. It’s easy to become comfortable when things are going well and you are on the top… But it takes hard work and smart work, every day, to keep you there…
  • Don’t let others take your dreams away– Lesson: Whatever your dream is for the business or yourself don’t let others– take it away; pursue it with a vengeance…

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In the article Business Lessons Learned From Taylor Swift by Roberta Matuson writes: There aren’t many solo artists who can sell out stadiums across the world, which says that there are many lessons that can be learned by taking a closer look at the Taylor Swift phenomena; here are a few:

  • Speak from your heart: Most businesses do little to connect with their individual buyers. Instead, they seek to connect with the masses… Think about what you can do to personally connect with those you’ve worked so hard to secure as customers…
  • Let your followers speak on your behalf: Are you allowing your followers to speak on your behalf? If not, you should be. Testimonials are a much more powerful way to acquire and retain business than email blasts or advertising…
  • Power of value: What kind of value are you giving your customers? Are they being  constantly surprised on how much more they are getting from the relationship with your business than they expected, or are they leaving feeling ripped off?
  • Anticipation creates excitement: What are you doing to surprise and delight your clients? If the answer is nothing, then take a lesson and do something!
  • Make it easy for your customers to buy from you: Can your customers easily make purchases from you, or do you force them to wait in line? If you don’t know? Try buying something from yourself and see how easy it is, or isn’t to do so…
  • Leave your customers wanting more: Are you delighting and exciting customers so that they cannot wait until you announce your next offering? Think about what offerings will best engage your audience and then make it so…

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In the article Lessons Learned: Don’t Get Trapped in Your Core Business Model by Josh Cable writes: Contrary to popular wisdom, most businesses do know how to read their market correctly, and most businesses do know how to innovate aggressively, and most businesses do know how to make good decisions… but, some how along the road many eventually end-up in failure… And, the easy relational narrative is that a company was just blind to the disruptive changes in its marketplace… but like many easy narratives, this one may be wrong…

Instead, the real issue is that too many businesses get trapped into their own business model… and they become paralyzed with fear of failure and are unable to move far enough or fast enough to align and transform their business correctly… Here are several lessons:

  • Start innovating before you must: The challenge is called; Innovator’s Paradox, and it’s when you have the freedom to change, but you don’t feel the urgency to change. But then once the urgency grows, the degrees of freedom to change usually narrows rapidly… It’s the ‘deer in the headlights effect’… you become so fixated on stopping the bleeding; you forget that the real issue with the business is the core business model…
  • Place multiple small bets, not just one big bet: It’s always hard to know which idea is going to be ‘The One,’ especially in fast-changing industries. Another approach is to develop a portfolio and pipeline of different growth strategies– and start early enough that there is time to– incubate, revise, and grow them…
  • Don’t go it alone: Companies must continue to innovate by seeking out multiple relationships with companies in your industry or companies on the periphery of your business… The lesson is that innovation is hard stuff and even an insightful company can go wrong, when it does not push– hard enough, far enough, fast enough… into uncomfortable territory…

When things go wrong with your business– remember, mistakes are not failures– they are just lessons learned! According to Kim Runyen; some key lessons learned while traveling down the path to business success or failure, include;

Caring counts; business must care about all people (i.e.; customers, employees, suppliers, partners…) with whom it come into contact… and when there is genuine caring about people then there are more people around that are willing to help when things begin to go wrong…

Building relationships; relationship building is a very important business skill; according to the ‘Carnegie Institute of Technology’; research shows 85% of business success comes from relationship-building skills and only 15% of success comes from technical skills…

Know value; you must know the ‘value’ of your business to– customers, employees, stakeholders… you must also know the tangible worth of the business in the marketplace to create an enduring business…

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Further, never assume that your way is the only way, or that you are always ‘right’– you must listen, not just hear, but listen– to other people’s experiences and points-of-view… According to Marissa Russell; most doors are closed in business and if you want them to open for you, then you better have an interesting ‘knock’ on doors from them to open…

According to Lewis Howes; embrace mistakes and find gratification in the lessons learned along the journey… It’s good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better if you can learn from other people’s mistakes, success, failures, experiences…

Quote from Confucius; there are three ways you learn lessons:

First, by reflection– it’s the noblest;

Second, by imitation– it’s the easiest;

Third, by experience– it’s the bitterest…