Screwing up (gracefully)

You dropped the ball.

Screwed up royally.

There are no excuses.

Somebody is going to be mad.

The owner’s manual on screwing up gracefully reads pretty simply:

  1. Own it.
  2. Don’t make excuses.
  3. Don’t try to hide.
  4. Apologize.
  5. Hope for the best.
  6. Then apologize again.

Too bad more people don’t have a copy of the owner’s manual. But here’s the thing: the only way for the manual on screwing up gracefully to work, is actually to use it so infrequently that it’s totally out of  your character.

Some sales reps make it a habit of returning again and again to that list. Or simply ignoring the list. Don’t be like them.

A final thought: this is when months and years of doing the right thing over and over might pay back with a huge return in the form of a Get Out of Jail Free card. Those extra will calls. Those extra staff trainings. The simple offer to do whatever is necessary to help. At some point all of us need to apologize and own a tough situation. A bit of karma might not always help, but it sure can’t hurt.


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