Friday, July 10, 2015

An Easy 4 Step Plan for When Things Go Wrong

Sometimes things don't go exactly as planned. For example, yesterday, my blog auto-emailer sent out a version of my post that was missing some edits (noticeable mainly from the half words in there that looked like gibberish). Then a friend noted on the Facebook page I launched earlier this week that I had not edited the about section of the page before I launched. I'll be honest, I just did not remember. Sometimes we can blame the technology. Sometimes we can blame ourselves. Sometimes it's the complicated processes. Regardless of the reason, sometimes, things just go wrong. When they do, what can you do?

1. Fix it.
First, you have to correct what went wrong. In some cases you can't fix everything, but you should make an attempt to correct it. In the case of my email that went out incorrectly, I couldn't very well un-send an email, but I could post the correct version of the article on the site as fast as I could once I noticed, so anyone that wanted to read the non-gibberish version could click the link and see it. What's more, those that don't subscribe via email and only catch the updates on Facebook or Google + or Twitter would see the correct version. Do your best to correct any aspect of the mistake that you can and try to minimize the damage that it could cause.

2. Acknowledge the failure.
Nobody's perfect. Pretending that everything you do works like a well-oiled machine makes you look a little bit pretentious (not to mention a liar). Things go wrong all the time. Sometimes there's not even fault or blame to go around, but you should acknowledge the mistake. It makes you look human (let's hope you are human), and generally people understand. Those that don't understand probably are not human themselves, so avoid them. Nobody needs to hang out with that negativity.

3. Implement preventative measures. 
Just because people can forgive your mistakes, don't assume they will forgive you for making them again and again. Work some preventative measures where you can to avoid having the same errors lead to the same mistakes. If you can't put systematic checkpoints in place, make checklists or processes for yourself to follow to try to avoid the issue in the future. It's ok to make a mistake but not OK to fail to learn from your errors.

4. Move along.
"Don't cry over spilled milk" goes the adage. When you've made a mistake or had something blow up in your face, you have to learn from it, take your lumps, and move along. Sitting around and focusing on the mistake for longer than necessary to learn what lessons it has to teach you is counterproductive, and that behavior will only discourage you from trying similar things in the future. Once you have finished steps 1-3, start something new. Get rolling. Something will go wrong again in the future. But the more you do, the more successes you will end up with than failures.

What has gone wrong lately for you? Were you able to correct what you could and move along?

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Image Credit: LincolnGroup on Pixabay