Your Team through Loss
The team had just suffered a devastating blow. They had been competing for a contract for many months. They submitted an outstanding response to the request for proposals (RFP) and were selected as the top five and then the top two. They were able to provide a high-quality prototype for their potential customers and held a demonstration session. They lost the contract.
They were granted because the other team had additional requirements that were not included in the initial RFP.
The prototype was also modified by the competing team.
Mary Carol brought the team together to discuss the loss. Strong feelings emerged. Some team members felt angry and that the process was unfair. Others were angry at their colleagues and others for not expanding the requirements. One person said, “I told your so.” Mary Carol allowed them to vent. They realized that she was simply watching them. The team sat silently and stared expectantly at her. They didn’t know if she was mad or if she would chastise. So they waited.
Finally, she spoke. “I have an assignment to give you all, and it is due in 2 hours.” The quality control lead interrupted her and said, “I know, you want to us to come back with our learnings, and what we could have done, or both.” “There will be a time for that later.” Mary Carol responded. “What I want is for you to go back to your desks right now and to think about what it means to be resilient. I’d love to hear your thoughts about resilience.
The team reunited two hours later. Despite being puzzled by the unusual assignment, a few were still unsure. They accepted it with open arms, and many brought quotes to illustrate their understanding of resilience. Some of these quotes were not traditional, just like the assignment.
“Sometimes Grace comes as a punch in your face. Mary Elder
“Inside or outside a ring, there’s nothing wrong with going below.” It’s not staying down that is wrong. Muhammad Ali
Other quotes were more traditional
Resilience is half the art of living. “Alain de Botton
“Man has never made any material as strong as the human spirit. “Bernard Williams
“It’s not winning that teaches you how resilient. It’s the setback. It’s the loss. Beth Brook
“Success does not make you a failure, but it does not make you a failure. It is your determination to keep going that counts. “Winston Churchill
The lead was initially quick to assume that they would be learning lessons from their mistakes. However, he was the first to realize the purpose of this assignment. The purpose of this assignment was to help them move on from a place where they were feeling lost and upset. Mary Carol used this opportunity to let them know she wasn’t angry with them. She didn’t think they did a poor job and that they were just being outclassed by the competition. It was now time to move on.
It is easy to celebrate success. It is equally important to learn from failure.