Albert Einstein once said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
It’s funny how this is so true in startup-land: Entrepreneurs try something out, it doesn’t work, they assume it didn’t work because of some external factor, they never bother to really check (as they are running around like crazy) and repeat the same thing over and over again.
Here’s how I avoid this scenario: Unless I have done something a bunch of times and thus can safely assume that the results will create the right impact and are stable over time, I treat everything I do as an experiment. With each experiment I lay out a hypothesis of what I expect the results to be — and make this explicit by writing it down (short — takes no more than 60 seconds). I then run my experiment and afterwards go through a quick After Action Review (my favorite management tool — it ensures transparent and honest feedback). Done. Case closed.
Mistakes are great — as long as you learn something and don’t repeat them. Ultimately they will become your competitive advantage — as the mistakes you make define your learning. Just don’t be THAT guy and repeat your mistakes, expecting them to turn out better the second time around.