Jane and I recently sat down and started to write down the guiding principles for radical. One of my core principles centers around the idea of “extreme ownership” (I have written about this concept a couple of times in the past) – it is core to who I am and how I expect others to behave: The buck always stops with you.
In my last Heretic posting, I royally screwed up. I couldn’t remember the full name of Lieut. Comdr. Nicholas (Mongo) Mongillo, did a quick Google search for “Mongo Navy,” briefly glanced at the first search result and wrongly attributed the insight I got from Lieut. Comdr. Mongillo to “Maj. Gregory N. ‘Mongo’ Stroud”. I was rushing, didn’t take the time to fact check and simply screwed up.
My palms became cold sweated when minutes after my newsletter went out, my colleague Chipp pointed the mistake out to me. By that time I could change all online references but not the newsletter itself anymore.
The whole episode made me realize how vital owning your mistakes and screwups is – of course, nothing bad happened, and I am sure both Mongos will laugh about this whole thing should they ever find out. However, it is important to me – we often don’t get it right on the first try. Which is fine if you own it, fix it, learn from it and strive forward. Too often we have a tendency to brush things under the carpet – no big deal; no harm being done; nobody cares.
Except – people do.
Ask anyone who had a bad experience with a company. Those who experienced the company stepping up to their mistake, owning and fixing it will often turn into lifelong supporters. The others will go out of their way to not only not do business with you anymore but also tell everyone else.
Do what is right. And if you get it wrong, make it right. Every single time.