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  • Huge Mistake at Work Effecting Productivity

    I recently made a HUGE mistake at work and accrued a big expense at work. Now thankfully I still have my job but I am now doing a lot of second guessing, being jumpy, and tend to not be my normal superhuman productive self at work.

    Are their any tips out there for treating this as a project? To build myself back up, forgive myself for the mistake and work back up so my managers can trust my performance and not even think about this mistake again.

  • #2
    Why not?

    Project: Overcame impact of my mistake
    Outcome: Review a list of things I've done well (or, done to help ensure I don't make the same mistake) with my boss and mention how much the mistake impacted my psyche and here's what I've done to overcome it.

    Next action: start a list of the post-mistake issues

    I've always been more interested in how people & firms deal with mistakes after they happen than whether or not they happen in the first place.

    Mark

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    • #3
      Hmmm....

      Well, you know what your successful outcome is - To build myself back up, forgive myself for the mistake and work back up so my managers can trust my performance and not even think about this mistake again.

      But I have to ask, how will you know when this is done? What event will have taken place, what milestone met, etc. where you can say, "I've built myself back up and my managers trust my performance"?

      Once you've figured that out, you have to come up with a next action... that's where it gets tricky. How do you benchmark this process?

      Perhaps in the past you were TOO quick. I mean, what's the sense of being productive if the results produced are not that which are desired?

      Honestly, I think that this is just something that time will have to heal. Realize that you are NOT superhuman, and that we all make mistakes. The first step is to forgive yourself....

      Hey, is that your NA?

      Do this quickly, because if you fester on these thoughts for too long they will become your reality. Remember, whatever we focus on expands. So, if you keep focusing on your mistake, mistakes are what you will manifest. Try visualizing yourself doing your job competently. ACT as if your managers trust you again... Don't entertain thoughts of doubt, and if they do creep in exercise them quickly.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mark Jantzen
        I've always been more interested in how people & firms deal with mistakes after they happen than whether or not they happen in the first place.

        Mark
        Mee too! That's one of the great things about the culture that I work in - the CEO of my company is less interested in blame and how problems happen. What he's interested in is solutions.

        Like DA's said, "Your ability to deal with surprise will be your competitive edge"....

        Comment


        • #5
          Years ago I read an article entitled "No More Mistakes and You're Through!", in which the writer made the point that the only people who don't make mistakes are those who aren't busy enough or aren't challenging themselves enough. To him, a perfect record signifies a lazy or marginally-productive worker; a person who isn't willing to really take on challenges. And in his company that was the person with the least job security. I liked his attitude and I've referred back to it many times when I would have a miscue and was down on myself.

          He emphasized the fact that mistakes aren't to be glossed over or excused, but simply that mistakes are inevitable in active, productive environments and (as was said before) they are opportunities to learn and improve. The death knell was when the SAME mistakes are made repeatedly.

          I've also heard it said that Babe Ruth also held the strikeout record when he was at his best. I'm not a sports fan, but if that is true then it says volumes about mistakes for anyone striving to do exemplary work.
          Last edited by spectecGTD; 10-04-2005, 08:17 AM.

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          • #6
            Thanks for all the great advice everyone.

            This will be the project:
            Rebuild my professional trust
            Outcome: To be trusted by my managers and able to make confident decisions without letting my mistakes get in the way.

            Next Action: Forgive Myself for the action.
            Support material, a journal to keep myself sane and a blog to outcry my emotions and to share my progress. www.myspace.com/12hourhalfday

            I can also look for articles and blog about them on my GTD and web blog at www.unvoicedvisions.com

            I think that should work. I have a lot of self doubt now though and forgiveness is going to be hard. I do feel good and confident today and work isn't as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. The cold distant attitude from my managers doesn't help though. It's starting to get OT but How do I deal with this?

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            • #7
              If you haven't already, my suggestion would be to fall on your sword. Go to your manager, apologize for the mistake, explain how it happened and how you will prevent it from happening again, and ask for his advice on how to rebuild his trust. Let him vent, if necessary: remember that your mistake reflects poorly on him as well, and could even have threatened his job.

              Good luck!

              Katherine

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kewms
                If you haven't already, my suggestion would be to fall on your sword. Go to your manager, apologize for the mistake, explain how it happened and how you will prevent it from happening again, and ask for his advice on how to rebuild his trust. Let him vent, if necessary: remember that your mistake reflects poorly on him as well, and could even have threatened his job.

                Good luck!

                Katherine
                hehe, My manager is a she but I get the point. I have that understanding with her. It is the director of my office I need to do that with.

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                • #9
                  I think David's comments about a "trusted system" would be more applicable here. He said that the only way to get there is to use it. It makes sense that for awhile, you will be extra diligent and nervous. That is productive behaviour, in this case, it helps you keep your job. Only time proven completion will rebuild your, and others trust in yourself.

                  Gordon

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 12hourhalfday
                    hehe, My manager is a she but I get the point. I have that understanding with her. It is the director of my office I need to do that with.
                    Do it. Something very similar happened to me about 2 weeks ago. The mistake wasn't huge, but big enough to where I went to the co.'s controller and apologized. The response that I got was fantastic. I could tell that she was impressed that I took responsibilities for my actions and didn't make excuses or play the "blame game".

                    She even brought it up at her next directs meeting (I got this info relayed from my boss) as an example of how she wished everyone in her org behaved, and how it's a quality that she looks for in people who are "up and coming".

                    Point is... I think that if you did something similar you'd get similar results. I know that it helped me re-find my confidence after making a pretty big mistake.

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                    • #11
                      I was thinking about this issue this week because everyone in my department was laid off except me and I have made a LOT of mistakes trying to fill all their shoes and of course have had many people "above me" lay into me in the process for all MY mistakes -- when they are the ones who made the mistake by laying off the whole department in the first place!

                      I am unmanaged by no one; I am managing two brand new temps and in the process of learning everything by myself. And I have comforted myself with the following thought, fantasy and illusion though it may be:

                      99% of what happens in the course of a business day is a mistake.

                      .5% of all business effort is devoted to fixing those mistakes.

                      .5% of all business is devoted to making progress on things which are progressing mistake-free.

                      True? False? Who cares. Most of us are doing our best in an imperfect world and indeed, even if you make mistakes, it's probably in the service of fixing a mess that existed long before you ever came on the scene.

                      Okay, I'm not a profound thinker. But some myths are comforting just to get through the day.

                      Also: I would NOT do a mea culpa beyond noting the nature of the mistake and how it will be addressed.

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                      • #12
                        Fix more mistakes than you make.

                        Originally posted by Vilmosz
                        99% of what happens in the course of a business day is a mistake.

                        .5% of all business effort is devoted to fixing those mistakes.

                        .5% of all business is devoted to making progress on things which are progressing mistake-free.
                        It can be true but only for company in serious crisis mode. For healthy organization it can be for example 50%/40%/10%.

                        Some time ago I discovered that it is essential to hire people that fix more mistakes than they make.

                        I think this crisis in your company is a perfect opportunity for you (if the company will survive). Your first success is that everybody in your department was laid off except for you! It means that you were the most valuable person in this department!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TesTeq
                          Some time ago I discovered that it is essential to hire people that fix more mistakes than they make.
                          <laughing> True! Now if you can explain how to do that, you should have a best-selling new business book of your own!

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