As the school year ended, I told my three daughters that I was going to cancel the cable subscriptions because I didn’t want them sitting in front of the TV all Summer watching The Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. However, like most of my home projects, I haven’t followed through on my promise. Instead, we’ve been addicted to the show The Voice, and we’ve been spending our “family time” discussing Christina Aguilera’s ability to look like Betty Boop characters and Ce Lo Green’s choice in sunglasses. Oh, we’ve also been discussing the talent on the show as well. The initial idea behind The Voice was to take unsigned talent and judge them by their skills as a singer, not by their looks. Although as the show has progressed, it seems that there is some judging on “showmanship,” what actually caught me off-guard last night and this morning was that “unsigned” didn’t mean “never signed.” Some of the talent is getting a “second chance” at grabbing the music industry’s brass ring. It was this “second-chance” aspect that got me thinking about projects that failed, but may still be worth giving another chance to see if maybe the time is right for a comeback. As usual, you’re going to have to stick with me for a minute as I try to draw this parallel between musicians and legal projects.

Two of the most polished singers on The Voice, Dia Frampton and Javier Colon, aren’t amateurs. Not only have they been signed by major record labels, but both have released multiple CDs, all to limited fanfare, and then they were dumped by their record labels. (See Javier’s and Dia’s work under their band names, Javier and Meg & Dia.)

It’s a common story… great talent gets you so far, but without the proper planning and support, even the best talent can go unnoticed and end up labeled as a failure. Sound eerily similar to some of the KM, IT, Library, Biz Dev, CI, and so on and so forth, projects that are given their initial chance in the law firm. Inevitably, some of these projects aren’t given the support they need (adequate funding, equipment, personnel, etc), or the planning is so poor that they fail (lack of proper environmental testing, rolled out to the wrong group, etc.) Although there are many projects that fail because they are “bad projects,” there are many “great projects” that fail because the people supporting the projects have failed in their support.

So, just like Dia and Javier, are some of these failed projects worth another chance? Perhaps some of those projects were ahead of their time (meaning your firm just wasn’t ready for them two years ago, but perhaps now they are.) Perhaps some of those projects took a hit when the great recession hit in 2007-2008, and now that business is picking back up, it is time to give those failed projects a second chance.

The biggest hurdle on giving something a second chance is overcoming the fact that they failed in the first place. Maybe, as with the premise of The Voice, you should have a little selective ignorance of what happened in the past, and listen to the value of the project in the here and now. Perhaps you’ll turn your chair around on a worthwhile project and wonder how you let it fail in the first place.

Just for a little fun, here’s a couple of videos from Dia Frampton… the first one, Monster, was a failure, and the second one, Heartless, seems to show that sometimes things are worth giving a second chance.

Monster (Meg & Dia) – Labeled a Failure

Heartless – Worth A Second Chance?