How Should You Respond To Disappointing Results?

Unbelievable. The results aren’t just disappointing, they’re disastrous. You and your team are shell-shocked. You thought the market would respond but the market just didn’t respond. So how should you respond?
When the results are both surprising and bad, what you don’t want to do is beat up your team. That won’t help. They’re just as shocked as you are. Allow them to process what happened and to discuss their reactions—how they feel and why. A general truth is that people need time to process highly emotional situations.
On the other hand, you don’t want to get endlessly mired in the quicksand of gloom and doom. Allow them to process, but not dwell on, what happened. You need to corral the processing. What you might say is, “People, I know all of us are shocked with the poor results. This is massively disappointing. Let’s take the next 15 minutes and talk about it.”
Once people have had a chance to process the situation, then you can transition to analyzing the situation. What happened? Why did it happen? What would we expect to happen if we don’t do anything differently?
It’s important to manage the transition from emotional reactions to rational analysis. And to get to the root causes of what happened. Keep asking, “And why did that happen?” to get to the real root causes.
Now, with the root causes in mind, ask you team, “What have we learned? What will we do differently? What will we make happen?”
Identify and document commitments—who will do what by when—to give your team a sense of comfort and confidence that you will produce better results in the future.
Sooner or later, all of us are faced with massively disappointing results. Acknowledge them, analyze them, and act on them. Anything else, and you’re likely to be massively disappointed again.
Make it happen.
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