5 Reasons People Fail at Their Work (We’re Being Honest)

Get the Basics...

  • Failure isn’t an end to itself
  • Learn and grow from your failures
  • Take inventory of your personal and business failures


In a recent team meeting, our head of sales shared the wisdom he gleaned from reading New Sales Simplified. Mike Weinberg discusses his “Not So Sweet 16” which he adapted into the “The 5 Not So Sweet Reasons People Fail at Their Work.”

These failures can all be seen through the lens of opportunity. As you’re reading through them, ask yourself, “What is the remedy to this failure?”

#1 – Don’t Know How

Fundamentally, some people just don’t know how to do the job. Find out why they don’t know. Maybe they were poorly trained when they first started. If so, that provides valuable insight into onboarding.

Maybe the training was good, but it just never clicked and they need more time. How can we help someone learn their new job quickly and effectively?

That’s a key question that must be answered to prevent this kind of failure from being commonplace.

#2 – Don’t Own Their Processes

Is there a “path to completion” and accountability for a task/project? If not, there’s no way you can own your own process.

Our team uses several tools to empower team members at every stage of our company to own what they do. Some of those tools include:

Ultimately, you need to find what’s best for your team.

#3 – Prisoners of Hope

When it comes to doing your work, do not be a prisoner of hope. This kind of failure is rooted in a lack of clarity. For whatever reason, you are not confident that the work you’re doing is actually getting the job done.

There’s a rule of thumb that we strive to follow: Spend 10 percent of the time of any project making sure you have absolute certainty. Doing so will prevent you from becoming a prisoner of hope later.

Are you “hoping” the work completed will get the job done rather than knowing for sure? That will not only cause issues with the work itself but chances are you’ll experience anxiety and other side effects personally.

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#4 – Stopped Learning and Growing

How are you refining your craft? Be honest with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, then you’re in big trouble. What kind of things are you doing to pursue excellence?

That could be anything from:

  • Reading a book
  • Taking a class
  • Attending a conference
  • Scheduling a meal with an expert you admire
  • Asking someone to be your mentor
  • Trying a new tool
  • Scheduling a Demo with Exercise.com for Business (we might be biased here)
  • Committing to Deliberate Practice

Don’t just stay where you’re at or you’ll find life and your business will pass you by. The best businesses adapt as the market changes and technology advances.

#5 – Don’t Protect Their Calendar

Block off time for most important tasks for your responsibilities. On the flip side, this might mean not scheduling certain activities.

Some leaders have no problem delegating and others do. If you’re one that does, you must practice delegating to protect your calendar. How many times have you run late for meetings or projects because you got entangled in something you should’ve delegated?

When you do have meetings with other people, give them your full attention. In The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loerh tells the story of one leader who was always running into issues with his calendar until he committed to making sure he stayed on time.

That meant sometimes cutting meetings short that were running long and in turn improving time management during meetings.

Which of these five failures would you say you struggle with personally and also does your fitness business struggle with?

Our team would love the opportunity to learn more about your business. Learn how trainers, coaches, teams, and gyms use Exercise.com’s online workout software to deliver engaging workouts, save time, and grow their business. Reserve your demo today!