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Self-Assessing Business Mistakes: 3 Questions

You’ve made a business mistake? Three simple questions will help you make a quick, preliminary assessment of the situation, and to react in the most appropriate manner.

Stay with me, and, before the end of this video, I’m going to show you a little game, that you can play with your mistakes, to make it more fun!

Assessing Business Mistakes: a Story

A few years ago, I was sitting at a temporary desk, at one of my clients’ offices, when one of my collaborators – let’s call her Audrey – stepped through the door, with a scared look on her face.

I looked at her and asked: what’s going on?

And she said: oh, Luca, …. Well, it turned out that she had made a bad mistake on a task she was assigned to.

I said to her: ok, let’s talk about it! Tell me one thing: who told you about your mistake?

And she said: oh, nobody told me, I discovered it  on my own.

How’re you going to cope with the consequences? How’re you going to mitigate the impact of that?

And she said: oh no, Luca, I’ve already solved it! There’s no impact. In fact I’ve been able to react immediately and to avoid the worst consequences.

Next, I said: ok, now, tell me: what about the Client? What did the Client tell you?

She said: oh, well, the Client doesn’t even know, yet, about this.

And, at that point, I said: let me recap the situation. You’ve made a mistake. You’ve discovered about it by yourself. There are no consequences implied. And you and I are the only two people in the world who know about it, so far. Is that correct?

Audrey said: yes, that’s correct, Luca!

A smile started appearing on her face, because she was realizing that the situation wasn’t as bad as she was supposing.

3 Questions to Assess a Business Mistake

Whenever you make a mistake, you should ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Have you discovered it on your own?
  2. Are there consequences that you’re not able to prevent?
  3. Are there other people knowing about it?

And, provided you haven’t died in the operation, and that you’re not an idiot – and, if you’re reading this, I suspect that both conditions are satisfied – chances are that you’ve learned something, and that you have highly reduced the probability of making the same mistake again.

So, now, let’s talk about the game. Take the three questions, and assign a score of one to each of them, whenever the answer is yes, and minus one, whenever the answer is no, and make the sum.


And now, it’s your turn: take your latest mistake and calculate the score. Leave it in the comments below!

Please, don’t lie: I know you’ve made mistakes, everybody makes them!

And never forget that only those who don’t work, also don’t make mistakes!

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