Mistakes are bound to happen. Do you dig in, understand and learn from them, or do you acknowledge them and then just keep plowing ahead? Chances are you’re like most employees, most departments and most companies — you acknowledge, accept blame and keeping plowing ahead.
A client I’m working with is dealing with mistake after mistake. They’re all small, and they’re happening in every department which tells me something. People are off their game — in fact the whole company is off its game. And the question is why.
This particular company operates like a snake eats a rabbit. A project is taken on, and each department has to step up and work like crazy to keep the project moving through the system. Each team can relax after the project has made it through their department until the next one comes along.
What’s occurring now is that three, four, five and six major projects are working their way through the system. The system can’t possibly accommodate all that work, no matter how it flexes, stretches and bends. There’s a reason a snake only eats one animal at a time. And so it is with this system that’s overtaxed — it doesn’t function and mistakes happen.
THE REAL WORLD REATILING TAKEAWAY
What’s the definition of insanity? Continuing to do things the same way and expecting different results.
This company is dealing with insanity right now and we’ve got to not only acknowledge it, but then do something about it.
Step one: Acknowledge it. Any mistake usually has more than one person or department at fault. And since mistakes have occurred in a number of departments, they become collective company wide mistakes and one giant issue. So we’re going to gather everyone up on Monday and say, “we know it’s happening, now how to we fix it”? No brow beating, no finger pointing, just an acknowledgment that we have issues.
Step two: Problem solve. We’re then going to ask for input on each of the major mistakes that have occurred. Each department will have to acknowledge their mistakes and lead the charge to put processes, systems or procedures in place to stop it from happening again.
Step three: Work for the greater good. I’m there to mediate the conversations, to stop the finger pointing and get teams to meet in the middle to help the company work through, and past this. It’s the only way to get things done.
Fixing mistakes, solving problems, innovating — they all need communication to achieve a positive outcome. Don’t just sweep problems under the rug. Talk about them. Get them out on the table. People want to know they’re working for a company that does more than just talk. They want to work for a company that achieves results.
How are you breaking the paradigm and acknowledging, then solving problems?