Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Post Mortem–Creating Life From Death

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be. - John Wooden

It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. - Bill Gates

Now that the municipal elections are over in Calgary, there is still an important task remaining for those committed to continuing their political career.

It is the uncomfortable and often overlooked task of conducting a post mortem to understand why they won (or lost) and to understand what can be done to at least maintain the result in the future (for those who won) or to improve their result, for those who lost or those who won but face tougher competition moving forward.

There is one difficulty in participating in a useful post mortem.

While it takes courage, perseverance, confidence and audacity (in addition to sharp data, strategy and tactics) to win an election (or any competition for that matter), it takes an additional skill to analyze where things went wrong.

It is a skill that is not as common as it used to be and is often much harder to develop.

It is the skill of humility.

When I look at campaigns that went wrong, such as Calgary Ward 12 candidate Stephanie Kusie, it becomes clear what happened.  Obvious hints exist in my posts Is Calgary’s Crime Rate Out of Control? and The Vatican Effect–Attracting the Undesirable.

The challenge with post mortems is that while it is easy as the objective observer to point out where things went wrong, it is a pointless exercise if the dialog is one-way.  The lessons don’t “stick” unless the person who needs to learn them accepts the observations, learns from them as well as from their own self-analysis and invites a personal transformation to take place as a result.

People who believe that they can overcome anything with positive affirmations while ignoring the lessons of Life merely end up learning …….


When post mortem questions are asked that sting or hurt, such questions are inviting the “seeker” to explore the subject deeper.  The pain tells the seeker “There is a valuable lesson contained within – keep moving towards the source of the pain”.  To move towards the source of the pain and to embrace it allows powerful lessons to be burned indelibly upon one’s Soul.

Those who do so later point to past stumbles as powerful, transformational moments on the road to success.

Those who believe they can brazen through Life while ignoring the lessons offered often find that they keep repeating their mistakes, burning the lives of others as well as their own.

Do you have the humility to examine the difficult moments in your Life, to identify corrective actions and to be able to answer the questions “why?” and “how do I know?” in regards to how well those corrective actions will produce better results in the future?

Are you sure?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,



I became very critical of Ms. Kusie’s campaign during the Calgary election.  My requests for clarity, for a candidate to answer the questions of “why” and “how do you know” when it comes to explaining election intentions were responded to with emotion, lack of data and attempts at intimidation by some members of her campaign team.  Some of those people felt that it was better to create antagonists amongst the electorate instead of alliances. 

If you’re going to choose enemies over friends, at least know who you are provoking before proceeding.

Who knows – maybe some day, Ms. Kusie will sweep an election at the municipal, provincial or federal level if she takes the opportunity to learn from this campaign.  It takes courage to step out into the public space and for that, I applaud Ms. Kusie.  Few people have such courage.

And besides, most of us can look back on our lives, look at mistakes that we’ve made and shake our head, reliving memories that are so bizarre that we feel like we are looking upon the Life of someone else and not at our own mistakes.

Few of us were perfect then.

Few of us are perfect now.

Whether we choose to learn from our mistakes is what determines if we are moving closer to perfection or further away from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment