No doubt by now you’ve all seen the surprise ending to Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony where La La Land was mistakenly awarded Best Picture instead of Moonlight. With no time to waste on live TV, the Oscar was immediately and graciously handed-off to the real winner, but the fallout has been huge. There’s egg on many of those tuxedoed and bejeweled faces this morning.
Thank goodness not all mistakes play out on international TV. So how does one handle a blunder that can quickly escalate into PR nightmare? Here are a few simple reminders to consider.
Own It: My 14 year old has an “It wasn’t me” t-shirt, which is amusing since as an only child “it” can’t be anyone else but him. But in the workplace, that phrase isn’t so amusing. Instead, when a mistake is made, immediately speak-up and take responsibility no matter how small and contained or big and far-reaching.
Apologize: Be honest from the get go. It’s easy to point fingers and find weak links along the chain or to not say anything at all. Make it brief, hold your head high and move on.
Make good: Provide a solution – how can the mistake be fixed? If you can develop a quick solution yourself, then do it. If not, rally the team, take the lead and do whatever it takes to figure out the best remedy.
Accept the consequences: Swallow hard and face the fallout. How you handle this will be reflected in how your coworkers view you and most likely their willingness to trust you moving forward. Handle it with grace and a level head, and coworkers will respect you for it and follow your lead.
Move on: This too shall pass. Keep the incident in perspective and try not to be defined by the mistake. Go ahead close the door and scream a little bit but then reflect, learn, adjust and move forward – as the saying goes, we are only human.