Management Lessons


If you would create something, you must be something. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ● A Jason Caldarera website

When failures are successes

Some people will not allow themselves to succeed 

It’s a very real situation.  Being a former high school teacher, I initially had the belief, “I can teach anyone!”  I would take even the most difficult students and I would find a way to turn them around.  I would find ways to reach even the most unreachable students.  Now, as a manager of people, I find myself feeling the same way.  I’ve said many times, “I can reach this manager, I can turn them around, and I can make the difference.”  This is not a realistic view.  You are not going to succeed in training everyone.  The simple truth is, not everyone will succeed.  Those who do not succeed will fail because they simply did not want to succeed. 

Realizing and accepting that some managers cannot be trained and will not succeed can be very difficult, especially if you’re a trainer first and a people manager second.  It can be very difficult to accept.  Knowing “when to say when” is the key.  Once you give a manager the tools, explain how to us them, and provide feedback and follow-up, you have done your part.  It is the manager’s responsibility to take these tools and use them.  At least ninety percent of a manager’s development is the responsibility of that manager.  As the trainer/developer you are only responsible for the initial five percent (the explanation of expectations and the tools) and the continued training accounting for approximately an additional five percent.  The development in-between is that manager’s responsibility.   

What do you do when someone is not succeeding?  Some of us go back and retrain, we rethink ourselves, and we do more work than we should trying to salvage what we can.  We believe we can take anyone and turn them into a success.  It is entirely possible if that person wants to succeed; they must be willing to do what needs to be done to succeed.  If they will not, they will not succeed.  And you can either continue to frustrate yourself and others within your organization, or you can realize their lack of commitment and focus your energies on other matters.  

 Discovering someone is not going to make it within an organization is not a failure.    It’s a success.  The moment you finally say to yourself, “I’ve done what I can,” can be a moment of relief.  Freeing yourself from the draining task of retraining individuals that were not committed in the beginning is a great success.  The simple fact that person did not succeed is not your failure.  It is your success to realize your energies are worth much more invested in those who will take you and your organization to the next level.


Filed under: Business, Life, Management Lesson, Management Training, Motivation, News, training

2 Responses

  1. craigprice says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Understanding limits and recognizing obstacles is paramount to success. It’s not all puppy dogs and cotton candy and a positive attitude!

  2. jeffwangbest says:

    Agree with you.
    You cannot lead everyone to success. But I believe leading most of them there can be of great achievement, too.


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August 2007
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