Fabulous Fail Friday - Daring Leadership

Published Feb 10, 2023 (1 year ago)
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Happy Friday! It's time for another issue of Fabulous Fail Fridays! Here's a chance to embrace the suck, celebrate mistakes, realizing that they lead to learning and growth. Maybe it'll even encourage you to find small "experiments" in which to potentially fail, learn, and make your project better. Here's another one to consider.

A few years back I was in charge of a large project involving multiple teams and involved a large scale migration from a legacy system to our new one. We needed to continue to support the flow of data from the old system into the new as well as maintain the new systems data flow. We needed to identify a message streaming platform / distributed event system to last us now and into the future.

I did a good thing. I said I don't know what would be best, we didn't have time to experiment in this case, and this was important enough that we should find some help. So we did! We were able to find a great person with decades of experience in this field and could easily be a contract to hire, since we were envisioning more projects of this scale on the horizon.

We were able to come to the solution we needed, but it was a messy path there. Our contractor was used to massive requirements criteria, multi-month proof of concept builds, and lots of time gaps while to followup on analytics. We were used to quick (but sufficient) requirements identification, quick proof of concept builds, and frequent communication with tight timelines. Of course this led to a lot of tension between the contractor and our project manager as our decision milestone approached.

I failed to manage this well. In an effort to placate the situation I often made myself the go between in the situation, filling in the gaps of knowledge/needs/space for each side. I couldn't resolve the conversations I wasn't there for and eventually it led to me trying to have a conversation one evening with the contractor where I failed to get my thoughts out clearly and wound up giving a rather ugly "just do it" type edict. We got our solution, but future projects together was not going to happen.

It was shortly after that I stumbled upon Brene Brown's Dare to Lead book and it really changed how I approached a lot of conversations. I still have a long way to go, but it has really helped me change my view to add vulnerability, trust, values (community and integrity are mine), and resilience as key principles that I take into my conversations.

How about you? When have you been able to embrace small experiments / lots of fails in order to succeed?