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Own a Mistake

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bp 40“I’m sorry – that was completely our fault. I will fix it.”

Rare words from Customer Service, right?!  I heard them last week.  Admission of guilt.  Ownership of the issue.  Problem solving.

That type of statement is music to the ears when you’re the Customer and you’ve got a problem and asked for help.  I noticed an issue with a hotel bill, but I didn’t see it until weeks after my stay at the hotel. The bill was final.  Probably too late to make a correction…  Probably a waste of time to even call…  With low expectations and the bill in my hands, I called the hotel.  Judith listened to my dilemma politely, pulled up my account easily, and then gave me a pleasant surprise.  She turned my problem into her problem.  Judith said the issue was completely their fault, not mine, and she would correct it.  And, she did.

I received this stellar service from a staff member of a Hyatt Place hotel.  It served as an excellent reminder to me:

  • I need to own problems. 
  • I need to offer solutions.

Empty words.  The hotel incident brought back fond memories from basketball…

My bad!  My bad!     Many decades ago, I was in high school learning things and playing a lot of basketball.  One of the guys on our varsity team was a wild point guard.  I’ll call him “Joe”.  Joe would make a phenomenal pass on a fast break, setting up an easy basket for a teammate.  Next time down the court, Joe was just as likely to throw a bullet pass 10 feet over the guy’s head…  And, after an errant pass or bad decision, Joe would yell out “My bad!  My bad!” to all of us.  Joe was great about apologizing, but he had a hard time breaking those bad habits.  Apologies are a nice first step.  Changed behavior is much better.

When we lead our project teams, this discipline is a strong behavior to model.  Don’t blame others.  Don’t point to a policy that you know you should change.  Own those problems that you should own.  Find a solution.  Change the results.

It takes humility and self-confidence.  You can do it!

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