categories: LifeChurch.tv, creativity, leadership, staff, working together
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July 18th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

The Failure to Succeed

The failure to succeed is often one of the steps to success. Provided that it was not predicated with failure to try or failure to execute, sometimes things simply don’t work the way we had hoped or planned. The MOST important thing to understand is why. If you do not learn from your failures to succeed, you will never be able to make the appropriate changes or adjustments to ultimately succeed.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying it’s going to be fun to fail. Usually it stinks. But keep this in mind: you’re in good company. Any pioneer in any field is familiar with failure. Small businesses go bankrupt, web startups don’t get funded, research leads to inconclusive results, and manuscripts get turned down. But when individuals learn from those failures and persevere…that’s when big breakthroughs occur. If you create a culture where the failure to succeed is expected, then the people who’ve failed can spend time recalibrating, innovating and advancing instead of polishing up their resumes.

As believers, it’s tempting to interpret failure as a sign from God that it’s time to stop. By all means, do take those seasons to pray for guidance. But remember, too, that failure is actually a foundation of our faith. We all fall short of the glory of God, and that’s why we need Jesus. So as the Church, we shouldn’t just accept failure, we should embrace it as an undeniable part of who we are. That knowledge gives us freedom to attempt the impossible, to risk the unthinkable, and to accomplish the incredible things that God wants to do through us.

Have you created a culture at your church that embraces failure? How do you communicate this?

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July 17th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

Failure to Execute

Failing to execute is one type of failure that should be completely avoided. While I recognize that we all make mistakes, the failure to execute in my opinion is one of the worst. Especially when it is repeated.

It does not come as the result of taking a risk, or trying something new. It doesn’t provide profound lessons…the main thing that is learned when you fail to execute is that you need to execute next time :)

I’ve seen pastors and church leaders excuse poor execution with a lack of resources. Things do not bring execution, people do. Excellence in execution is far more important than excellence in equipment, buildings, or technology. Execution takes tenacious, committed, hard-working people, and they will do more for your church than money ever could.

As leaders, we can help our teams (whether staff or volunteers) bypass the failure to execute in a few ways:

  • Set clear expectations up front. Work with your team to determine the desired outcome for this project, including deadlines, results, budget, etc.
  • Encourage them to identify roadblocks and be a resource in helping your team move past them.
  • Define priorities clearly. If you’re throwing projects at your team in rapid-fire succession, make sure they know to tell you when an incoming idea jeopardizes a previous deadline.
  • Communicate early and often. The more you are in touch with your team, the easier it is to make small adjustments along the way.

How do you and your teams avoid the failure to execute?

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July 16th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

Failure to Try

The failure to try is one of the most common types of failure, and, in my opinion, one of the worst failures.  It is usually the result of a fear of failure or just plain laziness.

In December of 1999, I sold my last technology company.  Without going into great detail, selling the company at that time was a huge success for our investors and everyone involved.  However, as I drove home from our attorneys’ office the night we finalized the sale,  I couldn’t celebrate.  I began to be overcome with the fear of failure…I didn’t know what I should do next and if it would be as successful.  It was so bad that it effectively kept me from trying anything new for the next several months.

I talk to so many pastors who are either living on yesterday’s success or holding the pain of last week’s failure.  What is unfortunate is that this fear of failure actually guarantees failure…the failure to try.  Over the long-term, it will almost certainly lead to a declining or dead ministry.

On our team, we ask people who are interviewing for a failure resume.  If someone cannot list several failures in their life, it is sometimes a sign that they fail to take risks or try anything new.

What are some things on your failure resume?  What tips do you have for overcoming the fear of failure?

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July 15th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

Failure

We have consistently told our team that failure is not an option…it’s a requirement.  But is that really true?  The other day I had a good friend challenge me on that after I was significantly upset about some failures that affected our weekend experiences.  He asked me to reconcile the statement that failure is a requirement and my apparent lack of tolerance for failure that weekend.  The answer is that there are different types of failure some that are necessary for success, and others that can and should be avoided.

The rest of this week I’d like to discuss three different types of failure:

  • Failure to try
  • Failure to execute
  • Failure to succeed

What has been your experience with failure?  How has it changed your life?…or has it?

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