I thought I might dip into the archives this week for a this week’s failure Friday but nope. I have a fresh one on deck.
One thing that’s worth pointing out is as you move up the old corporate ladder, your mistakes have a lot more riding on them.
That being said, you still need to take them in stride because despite the higher stakes, humans still make errors so let me tell you about a recent misstep.
We had a big client meeting planned for Tuesday morning that I had to travel for. I was the point person on pulling the material together and we had been polishing it up for the last couple of weeks and it was in great shape if I do say so myself (and I do).
At least that’s what I thought until Tuesday morning when I got into the Uber with the partners the next morning and one of them asked me if I had included something in the deck… something I didn’t realize I was supposed to have done.
I tried to explain where I thought we were on the content, but I had clearly missed the mark. She actually ended up getting on her laptop in the car to try to pull together the piece that I missed. Yikes…
Having a partner doing clean up on something you missed isn’t the ideal scenario when you’re trying to establish or improve credibility. Some might even consider it a career limiting move.
I acknowledged the misunderstanding, maintained my composure, and worked on some of the other changes that were needed in the minutes leading up to our meeting.
The meeting ended up fine and we’re actually working together on another proposal now, but I think I may have sprouted a few more gray hairs as a result.
A couple of things to take away from this — first, if you don’t like last minute changes or change in general, consulting probably isn’t for you. Second, if there is even the slightest ambiguity in understanding in your mind on what you need to do, raise the question, even if people seem busy. It’s better than having a mistake come to light right before a client meeting – or worse – in the client meeting itself.
Sometimes you’ll think you’re clear on direction like I did this case but you’ll find out later that not so much on the clarity In that case, take the “L” and keep it moving.
And definitely don’t make the same mistake again… at least not with the same person.
In my experience people struggle with either 1) formulating questions in a way they don’t feel embarrassed, 2) facing mistakes head-on, or 3) not getting frazzled when things start going sideways. Sometimes it’s all three.
If you like paralyzing anxiety and stress, you can go ahead and close out this post. For anyone else, struggling with this, I can help. You can get that help by applying to my Success Factory coaching program. At a minimum, you’ll get a free coaching call out of it. Here’s the link: