So, today the inevitable happened. I dropped a ball. With a thunderous thud. It was not one of those be-all-end-all catastrophic lose your job mistakes, and frankly it was one where I could’ve passed the responsibility off to someone else. But I didn’t, and here’s why.
Years ago I was in a college chamber choir. Lots of eight part intricate harmonies and so mistakes would happen during rehearsal. One afternoon the conductor stopped us all and said, “You know, it will save us a lot of time if who ever sang the wrong note would just raise up one pointer finger so I can find you. Raising your finger will tell me that you know it was your mistake, and then when you take that pointer finger and point to yourself it will tell me that you will take it on yourself to work it out outside of rehearsal.” This proved a most effective and time efficient way to deal with the rehearsal process, and one I’ve transferred over to my directorial and business ventures.
It takes much less time to own any or all part of responsibility and then move on. Your clients/bosses/managers don’t have time to play the “button, button, who has the button?” game. It is just easier to own up to the mistake, express regret and offer a solution to keep it from happening again. This usually takes no more than 30 seconds, and will make you look much better in the long run. Accountability is key.
Stepping off soapbox now….