On a warm summer day, a little boy walked with his father. Delighted to see a water puddle on the road ahead, he raced, only to find it vanish. “Mirage, an optical wonder”, smiled the father.
Successes and failures are a whole lot like mirages. We visualize success, imagine what it looks like. Sometimes we attain it but don’t realize we have done so. Sometimes we attain it, but quickly move on to attain the next one. And sometimes, we are running towards it when suddenly, failure extends a leg, makes us trip and fall flat on the ground. And the Tom and Jerry chase between success and failure goes on. Let’s demystify this mirage. Let’s prepare a fool proof plan to fail. Forget CSFs (Critical Success Factors), let us talk about Critical Failure Factors or CFFs. Don’t forget to draw up a robust failure roadmap and a failure action plan.
So what would a great failure project plan look like?
- Resources: What if I cut my project resources by 30%, 50%, 75%. What will need to be dropped? How would I do the work? What alternatives do I have?
- Time: No deadlines please. What is the longest I can delay the result?
- Cost: Woohoo I am on a shopping spree. What would I need to do to overspend the budget? Let me think of all the wasteful and unnecessary expenses
- Speed: Snail is my hero. How much can I drag each task? I delay one task and I can easily see how the interdependent milestones will slow down as well.
Now we place the mirror of reality before our failure plan. Yes, you got it—you are staring at your best laid out success plan. You just thought of everything that could have come in your way-while you were focused on the outcome of success. You find this surprisingly relaxing, much more than when you are defining success where the fear of failure could make you anxious You see, when we are sitting in a room with the lights on, we do not often plan for darkness— when the room plunges into darkness, we fumble for a match stick, a source of light, navigational guidance. This is the paradox of success. To chase light, we must plan for darkness. To chase wisdom, we must plan for ignorance. To chase fearlessness, we must plan for fear. And similarly, to chase success, we must plan for failure. By doing so, we inch even closer to success. “Come, let’s race to the mirage ahead.” The father dashed. Splash! His trousers got wet. The mirage was not a mirage after all. “Mirage of a mirage, Dad?” “ I guess so, I guess so…….”
Vineet Gambhir is the VP & Head of Talent for Yahoo in APAC based in Singapore. Vineet is a seasoned HR executive with over 20 years of international experience in human resources, HR information systems and global operations. Having worked in diverse markets including the US, China, India and Singapore, Vineet has led, built and managed HR as a strategic partner for the business.