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Knowing When to Concede

After a week of uncertainty, frustration and confusion, Australia finally knows who has won the 2016 Federal Election. Although the Prime Minister has been announced, the final victory was not known because of absolute, iron clad statistics – it was known because one party chose to step aside and concede a defeat.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat after over a week of uncertainty in several key districts throughout the country. In a statement, Shorten expressed that, ‘We’re a grown up democracy – it shouldn’t be taking eight days to find out who won and who lost…We can’t afford to let Australia drift for eight days after an election.’

If his statement is to be taken at face value, Shorten conceded defeat to help usher in a much needed air of certainty throughout the nation and a confidence in the government that had been voted in, be it a minority government or a majority of one or two seats.

No one likes to admit they have failed. In business, life and particularly in politics, people are rewarded and praised for success. However, by only being interested in the success story, we can tend to lose focus on areas where we can stand to learn from our mistakes and do better the next time around.

Knowing when to persist or when to admit defeat is key to overcoming some of the pitfalls that can come when reaching for the next milestone, whether personal or professional. By emulating some of the traits of effective, good leaders you can learn some enduring lessons from conceding a defeat, or sticking it out:

Know your limit

After a lot of time, effort and money has been put into something, it can be especially difficult to let something go. While learning your limit will often be the most difficult lesson to learn, it is also one of the most important to learn.

When you’ve poured so much energy and effort into something it can be very difficult to write it off as a loss. However, if you don’t take action early, the losses you could suffer could be more astronomical. Before you start out on any venture, knowing exactly what you are willing to risk is essential to planning your next move. If you don’t know this important measure, it can be difficult to know the best time to extricate yourself from a potentially damaging position, or how long you can stick it out for.

Stay true to your core

There’s an old saying that go along the lines of ‘if you’re trying to please everyone you’ll end up pleasing no one’. While rapid expansion, creation of a new product line or a movement beyond a core business or service may seem like a good idea and an easy way to make a quick buck, you may end up losing focus and money in the venture.

Make sure you take your time before making any rapid decision that may deviate from your core business or career path. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try something new, but trying just for the sake of trying without the proper research or understanding of what’s at risk can mean potential grief down the track. Decide if your whole heart is in the move and that you can 100% back your decision to those around you.

Persistence and Overcoming Fears

The decision to continue doing something or to stop is what allows both development and change to come into every aspect of our lives. Sometimes it’s a good idea to stop, other times it will be a matter of persisting and overcoming your fears. While there’s no sure fire way to make that decision, there are a few things you can ask yourself before throwing in the towel or continuing on:

  • Am I still excited by the idea?
  • Can I achieve more by trying something else?
  • Knowing what I know now, would I still try to do this?

Choosing to continue with any business situation means taking a lot of things into consideration. But ultimately, if your heart is still in it, it still excites you, there is more to achieve and there is still room for improvement in your own efforts, then keep going forwards with it.

Be aware of your reputation

Whether you choose to power forward or throw in the towel, both actions can have an effect on your ongoing professional reputation.

For example, continuing on blindly despite a series of failures or pitfalls will reflect poorly on your reputation as a logical decision maker and a team player. Conversely, if you make a decision to concede defeat too early you may foster a reputation for being slightly weak when times get tough.

Either way, it can be hard to be completely rational about giving in or sticking it out when you have so much on the line. It can often come down to how much you are willing to risk, against what you could stand to gain if you put your energy and capital into another venture.

Are you practicing the 8 steps of problem solving? Successful managers and leaders understand the importance of establishing a refined process for problem solving. View LMA’s 8 steps of problem solving here.