Last week, I was so excited when Jann Guthridge from Triangle Suspension said she would write a guest blog post about Sage Inventory Advisor. It was so perfect: She’s a champion of the product, her company was the first Sage 500 ERP customer to use it, and she’s going to be participating in a session on SIA at Sage Summit.
I even gave a heads-up to some of my friends at Sage. Hey, this is going to be great! You’ll want to pass this around. People are going to want to read this.
Jann delivered in a big way. It was a great commentary about how they came across SIA, and I only had to do a few minor edits. (I tend to edit in AP style, so there were only some minor punctuation issues I found.) All I had to do was write a brief intro before I copied Jann’s part into WordPress, and things would take off.
Everything was going great. Or so I had thought.
For some reason, I thought to go back and look at the post. (OK, I’ll fess up … it wasn’t getting the traction I thought it would.) Sure enough, there it was in my intro as bold as brass: I called SIA “Sage Investment Advisor.”
In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: D’oh.
Well, it was no use crying over spilled milk. I changed the offending word to “Inventory,” but the damage was done. Blog posts get their best run when you first post it and it gets linked by other places across social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. By the time I fixed it, that link had already been dropped so far in people’s feeds, nobody would see the corrected version, even if they had never seen the mistake in the first place.
The funny thing is that I’m no stranger to making mistakes in public. It comes with the territory when you are a journalist or a page designer for a newspaper. I’ve spelled “Kernersville” wrong in 120-point type on the front page. I’ve left the placeholder text “Drophead goes here, here, and here” on the front page of another newspaper.
The funny thing is that it has given me a great perspective when I’ve seen people make mistakes in their job, even if it doesn’t get published for everyone to see. I may get frustrated or annoyed, but you will never hear me ask, “How can you make such a mistake?” The answer’s easy: Because you’re human. It’s part of the job description.
Every person in our company has made a mistake. Every person in the companies we deal with have made a mistake. Every person reading this post has made a mistake. Errors, mistakes, typos, forgetfulness — it all has happened to every one of us. Some mistakes are minor, but others can cost time, effort, and sometimes money to correct. You can measure a person not only by how they handle their own mistakes, but also by how they handle someone else’s mistakes.
If it’s your mistake, did you first admit it was your mistake? Did you apologize? Did you try to correct it or make the situation better? It all boils down to one word: Honesty.
If someone else made a mistake that affected you, did you accept their apology? Did you make it easy for them to try to correct the situation? Did you keep open lines of communication to help everyone get past the mistake?
For the mistake I made on the last blog post, I could have come up with a million excuses: It was my first day back from being sick. I was taking medication. I have dyslexia and didn’t notice the word was wrong. I could have even changed the post and pretend nothing happened. But all of those excuses are not honest. I just made an error, and I’ll do my best not to have it happen again.
Mistakes are going to happen. How you handle the situation — whether it was your mistake or not — is how you will be measured.