At my wedding, I received so much gifts from friends, relatives, and people from my professional network that I ended up losing track of who offered what. Worse, I was so into the gift that I was paying much attention to who was the sender. As I sent out the thank you note, I left out a group of friends that actually moved mountains to attend to my wedding and I didn’t realize it until they give me a call to remind me: “how come we didn’t receive the your thank you note?”. After the call, I was devastated.
A good friend of mine who works as VP of International Sales for a video company called me once and said he screwed up. I replied: “OK! so what do you need from me?” And he said: “I can’t afford to loose this client, tell me how I can turn a screw up into a stronger relationship.”
I personally believe, one day or the other, we all screw up and this might be justified by our busy schedule, our lack of attention, our unawareness of relationships skills… Screwing up a relationship (professional, friendship, intimate) can make you loose a lot such as the person or organization’s trust or it can affect your rate on how reliable and accountable people see you. So, how to gain back someone confidence and turn a screw up into a stronger relationship?
- Move first – Some people notice when they screw up and try to hide it which of course doesn’t help. What need to be done is to be an early bird. As soon as you notice your mistake, go out and reach to the people and apology. Do not wait for them to come to you. Moving first reveal a sort of humility and a request for apologizes that people will be sensitive to.
- Take responsibilities – Do not try to deny or to explain your fault. Just accept your fault, take responsibility, excuse yourself, and show respect and understanding to the person feedback about your screw up.
- Fix your mess – The first step in fixing your mess is in acknowledging your negligence. Once done, who you want to do next is to promise that it won’t happen again. BUT! BUT! BUT! Do not promise what you can’t or won’t deliver. You don’t to open the door to another future screw up so when you promise make a little start saying that: “mistakes happens and if this one happens again please understand it means that I’ve been facing a bigger issue.” Whatever you say, do not over promise that way you’ll never be in an under-delivering situation.
- Move forward – There is no point and it’s not even professional to talk about a mistake over and over. Once you recognize your fault, apology for it and made realistic promises, then wrap it up and change subjects. Try to choose a subject of great interest for the other person.
Screw ups happen and what is more important is how we handle them. Do you have any other suggestions?