Failure in All Things

Failure in All Things by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

Have you been guilty of trying to be a superhero? I have – even as an adult. … When I was a kid, it was fun to use a clothes pin and a towel to make a cape. To run around the yard and pretend I could fly. You know, someone had to save the world from the “bad guys.” As a 5 year old, that “someone” was me.

Recently, my family had the opportunity to stay at a great Asian resort, Plantation Bay. This 5-Star resort has been rated one of the Top 20 Resorts in Asia 3 years in a row by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. It’s easy to see why.

Plantation Bay is beautiful, the service is impeccable (down to earth, friendly, attentive), and the grounds offer a secluded tranquility that is hard to describe. From one of the largest privately-owned waterways in the world, to the award-winning Mogambo Springs spa, to the 7 Seas dive shop, to the clean elegance of its colonial-plantation architecture, Plantation Bay offers something for everyone. … Well, sorta.

If you read the “disclaimer,” you will find that they, apparently, don’t offer something for everyone. They are not offering something for everyone. They are not trying to be a “superhero resort.” They have limits. While offering something for nearly everyone, they recognize that they might not be a match for every traveler. I love this!

Why? They’re being honest, up-front, frank. They have limits. They’re willing to have the tough conversation, up front. Yes, the General Manager of Plantation Bay, a wonderful man whose staff calls him “Mr. B” realizes that, by having limits and stating them for all to see, they might be losing some travelers and their associated revenue. He also realizes that Plantation Bay is not for everyone. There may be some (albeit a small %) who would not have an amazing time (like we did). He doesn’t want guests who are disappointed, disillusioned, and difficult. He wants to offer a world-class resort experience to those looking for what Plantation Bay offers. They are not trying to be all things to all people. Again, I love this!

As an adult, trying to be a superhero can (and usually does) lead to failure. No one is perfect. No one can do it all. Is it really a risk to clarify expectations and state (up front) what you can and can’t do, what you will and won’t do (your boundaries; your limits)? I don’t think it’s a risk. I think it’s BRILLIANT!

Will I go back to Plantation Bay? Yes!!! Will I tell others about it? Yes!!! Do I think it’s perfect and able to meet the needs of ALL travelers? No!!! … Yet how refreshing is it in this hyped-up, “over commit and under deliver world” that someone is willing to be bold. To be truthful. To be frank. … Trying to be ALL THINGS leads to failure. Having limits, focus, and communicating clear expectations up-front is a requisite to world-class performance, service, and success.

How have you (or others) communicated realistic expectations up-front? Has it helped?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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