Friday the 13th came early this week! Someone our company relies upon tried to show initiative without stopping to think things through or obtaining our final approval. We discovered the result, to our dismay, as soon as we opened the office Tuesday morning. It is an understatement to say that Tuesday was a real challenge. For a long day and into the wee hours of the next morning, we lived with the quote: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
We had a rough day, but it wasn’t a bad day. Good people made the difference. Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong – in the worst possible way and at the worst possible moment. We write our procedures, hire our staff, and implement training programs so we can handle those moments when Murphy’s Law runs amuck. Kasey and I are fanatical about creating good systems that ensure excellence. We critique our processes all the time. We work to be prepared. There is a corollary to Murphy’s Law that applied here:
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong,
and circumvent these,
then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
OK, it happens. What matters is how you handle it.
We really appreciate how our clients responded. Those who were affected trusted us to fix the problem as quickly as possible. They gave us the time we needed to make the right things happen. We plan to nurture that trust by making every effort to prevent this from happening in the future. Caveat: we acknowledge the corollary above and somewhat reluctantly admit that I am actually related to a number of Murphys.
I’m really proud of the team response. There was remarkably little grumbling and a great deal of professionalism. People focused on identifying the problem, tracing it to the root cause, and implementing a solution. They also focused on damage control, taking steps to minimize negative impact on those affected and to fix everything that needed repair. We’re in the process of our Kaizan debriefing, a.k.a post mortem. We welcome your comments and suggestions.
And now for some related fun. Here’s a clever artist’s drawing of what can happen when things go wrong. Enjoy!