How to Make Errors Self-Correcting
PAIN can be—should be—a good reason to self-correct when what you’re doing isn’t working out well. Take, for example, the following true story:
Our trainer told us about an incident that had happened to another very experienced instructor while he was teaching firearm safety to a group of middle school students.
At the very moment he said to the class, “I’m the only one here who is experienced enough to do what I’m about to show you,” he tried to whip out his loaded gun from a side holster and mistakenly shot himself through the leg. Our trainer said, “Now, THAT is what we call a self-correcting error, and you can bet that instructor will NEVER make that mistake again!”
Again, wouldn’t it be nice if, at your company, errors and mistakes would just correct themselves?
Unfortunately, most of us have to learn through experimentation and PAIN not to repeat certain actions—like driving too fast on ice, picking up a hot poker, walking a tightrope without a net…or running a business without quality-control systems. Hopefully, the resulting experience is self-correcting!
I had never seen errors self correct in my own company, prior to using quality-control systems under constant vigilance.
OK, so why are mistakes in business NOT self-correcting errors? Fact is, many of those who make the mistakes feel NO PAIN!
In many businesses, workers continue to get paid and to enjoy paid vacations and other benefits whether they make mistakes or not. They may even get paid overtime for some RUSH rework, in order to correct an error they made.
I’m not saying people don’t care or don’t feel bad when errors happen, but most workers don’t bear the real consequences of their errors. When mistakes are made, an owner feels the pain right in the wallet. And owners are the ones most likely to experience a customer’s wrath over an error.
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.