- Be above the line. Apologize without making excuses. Saying “I’m sorry” acknowledges the mistake and demonstrates being accountable. Likewise, if you are on the receiving end of the error, give the person a chance to own up to it without using accountability as a weapon.
- Correct. After you apologize, ask how you can make it right. Come up with ideas on your own and collaborate with peers if necessary. And, on the receiving end, listen and appreciate.
- Learn. There is a vast body of published biographies, auto biographies, business books, articles and knowledge that equate failure and mistakes with prerequisites to success. Bottom line, you’ve got to Learn to Earn.
I pride myself on my organizational skills and attention to detail. Since my coaching practice depends on both, I’ve developed spreadsheets, procedures, and extensive files on my shared disk drive which enable me to run my business effectively and efficiently. It’s a system that works well, enables leverage, and keeps me in check. So, imagine my chagrin when all too late, I – or rather my wife – discovered a typo in my December newsletter that was missed by both me and my assistant. It’s hard to correct without jamming up people’s inboxes so the most I could hope for is … laughter! Yes, we have to laugh at these minor transgressions and put them into perspective. In this case, my assistant indicated 2016, not 2017 for a January seminar. She herself laughed and said that she was still writing 2014 on checks. I had little choice but to laugh along with her because this is very likely a universal thing. (By the way, as I finalize this toward the end of December, I note that although many opened the December newsletter, no one called me out about the typo.) All too often, we are quick to point out errors and mistakes – as my wife did about the incorrect year. I think it gives us some satisfaction knowing that we are all flawed. So how do you overcome setbacks like this? Here’s a formula: