How to Make Errors Self-Correcting

Wouldn’t it be great if the errors and mistakes we make in our businesses would just self-correct? Actually, there are some events that happen in businesses and other areas of life that are so monumental or costly, that they teach us—often too late—not to make certain mistakes again.

That seems to be the case when learning to use firearms—even experts who teach gun handling and safety say that self-correcting errors often happen to them.

Recently, I, my wife and son attended a two-day course on how to improve our knowledge of the use and care of handguns. Our trainer—who also trains police and even SWAT teams in our area—is really knowledgeable about weapons of all types, and was very thorough in training us.

“If you follow my instructions and learn the step-by-step process I will demonstrate,” he said, “you won’t get hurt. And by the end of the course, you will be amazed at your proficiency in handling and firing a high-powered handgun.”

He was right about that, at least in the case of my wife, Susan! By the time the course was completed, she was firing a 9-mm, semi-automatic pistol with both her right and left hands—and with surprising accuracy. She had also learned to clear a jammed gun and change out her magazines in a matter of seconds. I KNEW I liked this girl!

In my case, however, I had to experience one of those “self-correcting errors” our trainer described, as did others in the class. Our trainer demonstrated how to hold the gun correctly, but I kept going back to the way I had taught myself years ago. I wasn’t really trying to be Rambo—just one of those “old dogs, new tricks” moments, I suspect.

So, as I fired more than a hundred rounds, one of the fingers on my left hand took a beating whenever the slide on the gun recoiled. It finally dawned on me that, if I didn’t follow the step-by-step process the trainer had shown me, I was going to have a really bruised finger. I finally moved my finger to the correct position, and the rest of the day went smoothly.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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  • felix

    It is quite true that most employees do not feel the pains of errors committed by them. I think they should be made to suffer some degree of the pain i.e by being responsible for some costs as deterrent to carelessness. Knowing that they could be subjected to such would bring about self correction and increase the level of effectiveness