Should I analyze failure, or triple down?

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“We are judged not by what happens to us – but by how we respond,” right?

I’ve been a part of failed projects; I know how much it humiliates and hurts. What I’ve noticed is there’s an 80/20 split between teams regarding how they respond when things go sour. The 80% I’ve seen do a failure analysis, figuring out what went wrong. This was my default position too, a habitual post-failure practice. No one taught me this; it was instinctual. Maybe it’s culture or society. Maybe it was just me.

It’s commonplace to have a “what went wrong” discussion — but it just reinforces error patterns. Is that what I want?


Then on one project I was on – after we really botched it – the team talked about what went right. It wasn’t jarring, in fact, I didn’t even notice it really. But later that night in my hotel room, I felt good, energized even. Comparing how I normally felt when projects fail, I instantly picked up on the difference. We analyzed what went right, and that left us with a list of strengths to double down on for the next iteration. Brilliant.

I intentionally deployed this tactic at the next opportunity, and it left me feeling good again. Now this is the song I sing all the time. When sh** goes south, double down on what works. Focus on and identify strengths — including who was responsible for what went right.

Not denial but right vision

Success is built on a collection of failures — but it doesn’t drown in failure. I like the method of trial-error-selection-variation which tries new things then tries more of what works. It’s awesome how this method works in the scientific process and also in team processes.

None of this means I’m blind to mistakes. It’s almost like a philosophy about how to address any problem in life. Leave behind the bad, triple down on the good, improve and move on.

What should you do?

Different companies handle this based on their culture. It might not be clear exactly what to do and this can be tricky. The people at the top in life are always working, growing and improving with the help of others. It’s how you got to where you are, and it’s how you will get up through the next stage on your journey.

I have experience that you can leverage. If you don’t use me, use someone else. The point is for you to get what is on your mind resolved immediately, don’t wait. Set an appointment with me and tell me about your situation so I can help. Click this link to reach out. Something else on your mind? Whatever you need, I’m here. Life is meant to be done together, just reach out.

Joel Beasley

Joel Beasley founded the Modern CTO Podcast in 2017 while writing his book, the Modern CTO book, with the goal of interviewing CTOs and sharing their experiences with others in the tech community.

Joel’s conversational style and insightful questions quickly gained traction, attracting high-profile guests such as Microsoft’s CTO, Kevin Scott, and T-Mobile’s CIO, Cody Stanford. With each episode, the podcast’s popularity continued to grow, and soon, Joel found himself with a waiting list of future guests.

Today, the Modern CTO Podcast has become the number one leadership and tech podcast in the world, with over 150k active listeners, including CTOs, lead developers, and rising tech leaders. Joel’s commitment to creating a conversational atmosphere for his guests to share their experiences has inspired a new generation of leaders and innovators.

As the success of the podcast grew, Joel founded ProSeries Media, a podcast production company that helps companies worldwide create their own podcasts. With a team of producers, content creators, and podcast bookers, ProSeries Media produces over ten shows, providing a platform for companies to connect with their audience and share their expertise.

Through his work on the Modern CTO Podcast and ProSeries Media, Joel Beasley has become a respected voice in the tech industry, inspiring others to share their knowledge and insights with the wider community. His passion for creating engaging content that informs, inspires, and entertains has made him a sought-after speaker and advisor on all things tech.

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