The Pursuit of Social Profitability… Even When Failure Strikes

When things don’t go as planned, be strategic in your response

Even the best of plans can sometimes fall short. Despite your best efforts to be strategic and collaborative as you created the perfect program, event or campaign, the results sometimes don’t meet their objectives. This does not necessarily mean your concept has no future. The exact opposite can be true. While a lack of success can be difficult to accept and the fallout challenging to manage, the potential for course correction or adjustment should not be overlooked.

Learning from past experience is worth its weight in gold. Once again an opportunity exists to be strategic and regain the path to Social Profitability. The key is to move beyond your initial disappointment and frustration. Instead, ready yourself to delve deep into what happened and what needs to change.

So be strategic in your response and consider the following steps:

Step 1: Gather Insight

Your customer and/or participant will have first hand experience to share with you. Bring them directly into the evaluation process. Talk with them. Engage them in a meaningful way to ensure that their insight is added to the feedback that you receive. Create an atmosphere of openness and receptivity to ensure that all of your stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the evaluation process.

Step 2: Facilitate Discovery

Consider facilitating a brainstorm session to review feedback and begin to make sense of the insight gathered in step 1. The key to effective discovery is to set the stage for full participation and collaboration. Try presenting these guidelines for discussion:

  • There are no “wrong” answers
  • Everyone has wisdom
  • We need everyone’s wisdom for the wisest results
  • Everyone will “hear” and “be heard”
  • The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

While many exercises can be employed to manage the conversation, try this one to instill positivity into the conversation:

S.O.A.R. (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results)


What do we do really well?

What were our greatest assets?

What are we most proud of accomplishing?


What are the top 3 opportunities for improvement that we should focus our efforts?

How can we become better partners or deliver a better experience to our customers?

What synergies can we create with other partners?


What are we deeply passionate about?

How can we make a difference for the organization?

What is the benefit/outcome that we are trying to UNLEASH through our efforts?


What do we want to be known for?

How do we tangibly translate our strengths, opportunities and aspirations?

Considering our strengths, opportunities and aspirations, what meaningful measures would indicate that we are on track to achieving our goals?

Step 3: Make Connections

Summarize the learning from gathering insight and from your facilitated discovery process and share the results with all those that are involved and responsible for the continued evolution and implementation of your program, event or campaign. This becomes the foundation for redrafting a new and improved Brand Strategy, recognizing the past and making recommendations for the future. Ensure that you address all areas that require rethinking so that continued efforts work from the same roadmap to success.

Be relentless in your attempt to chart a new path, rooted in what worked and did not work in the past, but always looking to achieve better results in the future. The value of past learning is priceless and can often be the leverage that you need to hit the home run that you first imagined.

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