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“Good judgment is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgment.”—Mark Twain

While it’s easy to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, examining organizational mistakes, struggles, and shortcomings can be unpleasant, but it’s the key to future success.

Whether it’s a rejected grant proposal, negative feedback from a client, or a slip-up by a staff member, every blunder can be seen as a chance for improvement.  Follow up with funders after you’re turned down to learn how you might do better next time. Use negative reviews to develop new strategies for service delivery. Connect higher performing employees with struggling staff members for a peer-to-peer training experience.

Looking to others in your field can also be helpful. Examine the successes and missteps of peer organizations to learn about best practices or avoid the pitfalls that might otherwise threaten your nonprofit.

Failure can be a great opportunity for growth but only if you’re willing to acknowledge it. Next time you meet with your staff, ask yourselves: what’s a challenge you or a similar nonprofit has faced that the organization can learn from?

pchandra@fairmountinc.com