- "The longer you delay admitting a mistake, the more expensive it will be to correct." - Bryce's Law
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Nobody likes to admit making a mistake. We tend to believe it makes us look bad in the eyes of our coworkers, friends and particularly the boss. It's a real test of our integrity. Some people like to cover-up mistakes so they go undetected or, even worse, let someone else take the blame for them. I find mistakes tend to fester and grow if left unchecked, thereby causing bigger headaches and costing a lot more money if we don't catch them in time.
Every once in awhile you have to look your boss straight in the eye and say, "I screwed up." It's kind of like having a priest listen to your confession. Although the boss may be disappointed, he will be appreciative of the fact you came clean with him early on and brought the problem to his attention where it can be caught and corrected with minimal damage.
In this day and age of micromanagement you don't see too many people willing to admit a mistake. They take on an assignment, get in over their head, and fail to yell for help in time. This does a disservice to the assignment, the people depending on you, and yourself. In business, it is not uncommon to see people rising above their level of competency (aka, "The Peter Principle"). In other words, they have been placed in a position where they are incapable of performing their job effectively. Keeping them in this position is a disservice to the company as well as to the person. Frankly, I think we have too many people in over their heads who refuse to ask for help, which I consider a pretty scary operating scenario.
We have all made mistakes we wish we could take back and correct, some small, others real beauts, but there is nobody out there without a blemish on their record, which is why we are all willing to forgive, provided the person comes clean with it early on.
There's an old axiom in business that says, "If you make 51% of your decisions correctly, you will be a success." I'm not suggesting we don't strive for perfection, but we should all realize it is an impossibility. After all, the last guy who was perfect, they hung on a cross.
Originally published: July 15, 2008
Keep the Faith!
P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form. Great holiday gifts!
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Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Tim's columns, see: timbryce.com
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