Friday, September 27, 2013

Learning From a Loss

What's true in sports is also true in the business world.  You can  learn more from a loss than from a win.  Often, the lessons from a loss can help you win more in the future.

I have been trying to learn from a 2008 loss, and I finally got the lesson this week.

A project nicknamed Project P. was a high-tech fabricated metal vessel project that would have brought a good number of high-tech jobs and a large capital investment to Licking County.  It started looking in mid 2007, but ended with no location anywhere in 2008.

We were flattered to be in the final five out of a search that began, in earnest, with 68 sites physically looked at in 14 states.  We were the last of seven sites looked at in Ohio to survive the cut.

Our competition was strong as we were the only northern site and the only Industrial Midwest site left standing.  Seeing the list for this client, it would have come down to supply chain and workforce productivity over lower cost labor and utility rates.

The site search process was extensive with 130+ consideration items in the RFP and a three-day, deep dive look at the community too.  The company and site selectors spent more time dissecting the livability of our community than some people who have lived their whole lives here have.

Then, the economy tanked and the project never went anywhere--a loss, for every site.

On Wednesday, site selection consultant Mark Sweeney gave a confidential debrief on it to a handful of Grow Licking County development partners.  His debrief helped show where our community and site strengths were that helped us survive deep into the process.  It also showed us where our community and site weaknesses were that could (he never said if we would have won or not) have seen us not make the final cut.

It was a valuable lesson on how to learn how to win more in the future by learning from the loss.

I bet it helps us learn more.

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