Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Fault, And THIS is What I'm Going to Do to Make it Right

From professional blog co-authored by Judge Wyld.

My Fault,
And THIS is What I'm Going to Do to Make it Right

Project Management.

Professionals want to be perfect. Project Managers want to think of everything and to have a plan to keep the project running smoothly despite 'surprises'. But when you don’t think of everything and a glitch occurs, how do you handle the situation with others?

As you read below, imagine a situation such as materials delivered to the wrong place, not inviting your sponsor to a major project change approval meeting, or an important strategy meeting with key team members that you were hosting but failed to attend.

1. Accept that the resulting situation was YOUR mistake. Other factors may have contributed, but ultimately the mistake was YOURS.

2. Accept that other people on the team or outside the team were affected. They arranged their day or even their week around a particular expectation. Your mistake affected not only that event but other events that they had to arrange. They will also be affected by accommodating your workaround.

3. Communicate number 1 and number 2. Call, stop by, and email; all three if possible. Mention that the mistake was YOURS. Mention that you want to followup with the corrective action. Detail the steps of your efforts that will make the correction convenient for them.

Why take this approach?

1. If you don’t then you will be seen as someone who makes excuses and blames other 'things'. "Oh well, things happen!" sounds immature.

2. If you don’t then you show disregard for all of their efforts leading up to their being prepared for and making up for the fumbled event. "Oh well, it was ONLY an hour of their time," sounds naive.

3. If you don’t communicate that you are aware of your mistake, their loss of time, and the followup efforts, they will not be willing to follow you in the future.

You are dealing with people on projects. You cannot avoid being judged when you make a mistake, but forgiveness is still possible on the rare occasions that you make mistakes.

Judge Wyld

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