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Yep, that’s right.  PRACTICE.  Mark McClennan led a stimulating roundtable discussion at this year’s Counselors Academy Spring Conference called “Failures, Flubs and #@%! Ups: How We Fail and What We Can Teach Our Staff.”

Now granted I went because I loved the title (great job Mark!) but also because I knew I’d learn a few things.

Mark sums up his failure strategy in one word:  PRACTICE.

According to him, we all fail when we don’t PRACTICE:


P – plan.  We talk about planning but more often than not, we just jump in and get started.  And when we do that, we usually need to do it again.

R – respond and engage.  It is easy to get wrapped up in what we’re doing, eyes glued to the computer, typing away.  But we forget we have a team, others that need our support.  Get up, walk around, talk to people.

A – attention. Similar to R, start paying more attention to what’s happening around you. There are always telltale signs when things are going good and even bigger signs when things aren’t.  We just have to stop and pay attention to them.

C – complacency and conformity.  Just because “that’s the way we do it” doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it anymore.  Not unlike parents who say “because I say so” to their kids, “that’s the way we do it” is not a sufficient answer to your team when they want to try something new and different.  Let ‘em.  What’s the harm?

T – training.  If we could spend a bit more time training people at the beginning of an engagement, we’d spend a lot less time during the project fixing things.

T – trust.  Yes, I know, practice doesn’t have a second T, but this is a good one.  Trust the people you have on your team.  Enough said.

I – intelligence.  Not intelligence as in smart – that’s a given.  But understanding the knowledge that you have.  Recognize what you have and take advantage of it.

C – courage.  We all like to think we are risk-takers.  But that takes courage.  Embrace your courageous self and make some decisions that might be a bit of stretch.

E – evaluate.  Project’s done, send the memo, close the file.  Move on to the next project.  We don’t often factor in the time to evaluate the project and  its successes and failures.  Do it – it will make the next project so much easier.


So today’s tip: PRACT(t)ICE – you won’t be perfect, but you’ll definitely be on your way.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

1 Comment

  1. Ten years ago, then-NBA star Allen Iverson became famous for his dislike of practice when he was called out for not giving it his all when it was “just” practice. Not what you should be known for.

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