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What’s Your Biggest Swing and Miss? What Did You Learn From It?

Failure / March 23, 2022

My guests on Rounding the BasesĀ join the podcast to discuss their successes. But just like in baseball, you don’t hit a grand slam without a swing and miss every now and then. This week I’m Keeping the Score with a single, double, triple and home run…that were actually strikes. Read on as we round the bases.

Single: Mistakes Happen

Every one of us has the potential to produce extraordinary work, and when we do, praise is deserved for a job well done. But journalist Nick Haines experienced firsthand the pitfalls of patting himself on the back too soon. When Kansas City’s Fox 4 News requested permission to reuse his investigative work on criminal reform, Nick’s elation quickly turned to embarrassment when its story contradicted his reporting. Occasional hits to the ego are inevitable, but staying humble can help break the fall.

Double: The Subject Matters

When Luke Fedlam went to work for a major lawn and garden company, he realized that many people love plants, he just isn’t one of them. It wasn’t long after he joined the company’s M&A division that he learned it was being dissolved. In his effort to find the silver lining, he pursued an alternative role in its operations division, which quickly fell flat. Luke grew a great deal in the position, but the most valuable lesson for him was that work shouldn’t be transactional. For those seeking the holy grail of their career – and really, who isn’t? – find what’s meaningful to you and pursue it relentlessly.

Triple: Head over Heart

Risa Stein learned the hard way that plans are made for a reason. While serving as CEO for an Australian company, a series of emotional decisions she made upended its laser focused strategy model. The result? The business – and her role in it – crumbled. The pull of heartstrings can be strong, but calculated plans are stronger.

Home Run: Creative Pruning

Peter Mallouk may be wildly successful, but he’ll also admit to his fair share of strikeouts. Early in his career, a mentor likened motivation within a company to a bell curve. Employers should always strive to recruit the top performers at the far right, but work even harder to avoid the under performers at the far left. Peter began to understand the implications of that many years later when he saw just how impactful a single negative person could be on a high-performing organization. “Planting a beautiful garden isn’t enough,” he said. “You have to pull the weeds – and pull them early – before they overtake the garden.”

Who is brave enough to be vulnerable? Share your biggest swing and miss – and the lesson learned – in the comments.