Strategic Planning 5 min

You’re Going to Fail: Here’s How to Face It With the Right Attitude

Tanvir Bhangoo, author of “The P.R.O. Business Mindset,” shares how execs can turn failure into learning. See how…

by Kaitlin Milliken on April 6, 2022

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  • Failure when testing high-potential ideas is inevitable

  • Capture the learnings from failure and apply takeaways to future projects

  • Executive coach Tanvir Bhangoo shares the role of failure in making progress and what business leaders can emulate from the world of pro sports

Every ambitious executive will pursue big goals and confront failure. Successful leaders are the ones who move past the failure — learning from their mistakes and persisting on the path to greatness. 

“A lot of times when we fail, we associate ourselves with the failure. We start to, as leaders and as individuals, believe that our self-worth is now associated with the results,” says Dallas-based author and executive coach Tanvir Bhangoo

After shaking off a fumble, execs should search for “the key learnings and the key action items you have to take with you in the future,” he says. “Learn what you can take with you, get rid of the negative feeling, and then move forward and apply it.”

Bhangoo’s book, “The P.R.O. Business Mindset: How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos,” blends his experience working in the food and beverage space with his time as a college athlete. Bhangoo is the former VP of Technology at Freshii, a fast-casual restaurant franchise with $18 million in revenue. He also has experience as the director of technology at Restaurant Brands International, a quick-service restaurant business that owns Tim Hortons and Popeyes. Before that, Bhangoo played college football as a defensive tackle for McMaster University. 

The Pro Business Mindset is a framework and methodology that I’ve built when I saw what I was doing in the corporate world as an executive was very similar to what I have learned on the football field as a college football player,” Bhangoo says, whose clients include Fortune 500 execs, as well as software and nonprofit leaders. “It’s basically a framework for leading in…the world that we’re living in today, post-pandemic.”

During an exclusive interview with Senior Executive Media, Bhangoo explores the acronym “P.R.O” which relates to the playoffs, regular season and off-season in sports. He also explains how this seasonal approach interconnects with business. Read more from the edited conversation.

Learn what you can take with you, get rid of the negative feeling, and then move forward and apply it.

Tanvir Bhangoo, Author of “The P.R.O. Business Mindset: How to Lead Amid Disruption and Chaos”

Senior Executive Media: Tell me a little bit about some of the most challenging things, when it comes to creating change and preparing for disruption specifically at a Fortune 500 company.

Tanvir Bhangoo: Sometimes we say, “Hey, we’re gonna go on a digital transformation journey. We’re gonna implement all these great projects, all these great tools, all these good systems.” That’s half the battle. The other half the battle, which is probably the most important, is the people part of it. The challenge is how do you get the people to believe in your vision? How do you get people to work in remote environments where everybody’s burnt out? How do you get everybody on your team to work towards the same goals — and actually have some fun along the way, which is really hard to do in this dispersed post-pandemic environment that we’re all living in right now?

Senior Executive Media: So walk me through what each part of the acronym “P.R.O” stands for, and what that looks like at a large company.

Tanvir Bhangoo: Let’s start off with the sports side of things. In the offseason in sports, that is when you are building your teams. You are recruiting new players. As individual athletes are training, you’re getting ready for the upcoming season. Then there is the R, which is regular season. Now, regular season is when you’re actually playing the games. You’re executing on your strategy. And as coaches and players, you’re trying to win as many games as you can. So that in the third stage, the P, which is the postseason or the playoffs, you can go ahead and have a shot at the championship. That’s the stage where you have to push through the hardest of times. 

Now, you take that into business at a Fortune 500 company, the offseason is something that you have to invest in before you can take on any large endeavor. So we have the right teams in place. We have the right playbook that is adaptable. Do you have the right buy-in from people, from the leadership team, from people that are reporting to you? And do you yourself as an individual, as a leader, believe in yourself? Do you believe in where you’re going? 

Now, the regular season at a Fortune 500 company is the hardest part of execution. How do you execute on all these great slide decks and strategies? And in the book, a lot of the chapters are on putting your headphones on when it gets noisy. How do you get your game face on when there’s a lot of turbulence out there? [How do you identify] the 20% of the actions that you need in turbulent times to get you 80% of the way there? And how do you make sure that you’re making the progress and celebrating the wins, but also the failure? We know in today’s environment, unless you’re trying hard enough, you’re not feeling it. And unless you’re failing, you’re not going to get to your path because with failure comes growth.

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