One of the more interesting challenges in founding a company focused on bringing agility, advanced facilitation, and radical alignment to leadership teams is that we don’t have existing language to describe much of what we do, even to our most trusted partners and customers. People that have experienced it with us just ask “Can you come and do that thing you did for us here?” without having to name it. People that haven’t… well, it’s hard to explain, yet figuring out how to do so is one of our most important marketing challenges. We’re getting there, but we’re not done yet.

The only solution we know is to bring our product design and lean start-up skills to bear. We build something, measure people’s response to it, and learn before we try again. Sometimes, that’s quite hard intellectually, but more importantly it’s difficult emotionally.

As a very recent example, we built a page attempting to describe one of our marquee services. We’re exploring working with a trusted executive who already recognizes and respects our incredible team and our advisory capabilities, and who had directly requested an asset like this to share with her C-team. So, I sent off a link to the page, asking if it served her need and what feedback she might have. A few minutes later, I noticed she’d responded, and I excitedly opened her message because she must be excited to have responded so fast. She’d sent “Can I just give them your phone number?”

Ouch… missed the mark, clearly.

What happens next is the critical step for any leader. Do you throw away the work? Iterate? Measure elsewhere? Push for better feedback? Or, perhaps, none of those?

First, I like to pause, and appreciate the courage and vulnerability that led to the opportunity to receive that feedback. When I talk about celebrating failure, it’s about celebrating the willingness to take the initial action need to test and learn, knowing that it isn’t going to end perfectly very often.

After that, I can go back into the Learn, Build, Measure (again) aspects, but I always want to pause and acknowledge the emotion that comes along with that opportunity to learn. I encourage you to offer yourself that moment, and that appreciation as well.