Today, I read the article, "Why Leaders Don't Learn From Success" on page 68 of the April 2011 edition of Harvard Business Review. I read this article because it coincides with the Masters program I am enrolled in, Physical Education Leadership. It sparked my interest as someone who hopes to be a leader in the field.
The article explains that leaders don't learn from success because during times of success, we don't ask WHY we are having success. We simply believe it is luck or a "prosperous" time. We only ask ourselves why we are NOT having success during tough times. I think that it's important for leaders to reflect on times of success to determine what they did right that contributed to that success. Sometimes there may be elements of luck involved, but it's important to differentiate between those elements and the ones you controlled that contributed to a time of success. This will allow a leader to continue to implement and utilize the techniques that they implored that resulted in success. Otherwise, leaders may change what they are doing without realizing they are changing something that has been successful.
The overall message is to celebrate success, but also examine it. Chances are, something you did directly contributed to that success. It's imperative that you figure out what you did right so you can continue to do it.
In a physical education sense, take the example of curriculum revision or re-write. If you have a successful revision or re-write, it's important that you examine the whole process you undertook, so you can figure out what contributed to the success. Maybe the people you selected, the processes you used to revise and/or re-write, and the time it took to rewrite were all factors to success. If you do it again a few years down the road completely differently, you may experience failure because of a lack of reflection and examination into the success.