I have my fair share of self-doubt – or more precisely, I’ll give someone else the benefit of the doubt. I could be very sure about something, but perhaps in the context of something else, I could be wrong. And in my world, my goal is to just find out what went sideways and fix it. Then find ways to prevent a repeat of that particular error.
Memory is an interesting thing. I can remember details of events that are truly insignificant, and then forget that one thing I needed at the supermarket.
So in the course of a busy day at the agency, if I’m *sure* that something was this way or that, it happened, I’m sure I did it – but someone else says, ‘no way, I did not get X’; then I think – well, I could be wrong. And for me, the last thing I'll do is waste time arguing the point and say, ‘Prove it to me. Show me your work.'
I’d look like a total jerk.
Instead, I investigate. What went wrong, and if so, why? And then I want to figure out how to prevent that error – to ensure that it does not happen again. I’m not creating CYA, I’m refining process.
Where was the breakdown? Evaluate process, tools and people. Remind everyone we're in it together. To make the process of doing the day-to-day easier.
So, in the scenario, for a period of time, they did their job and I didn’t do mine.
Who is wrong? Is someone being a jerk because they never admit a mistake, or that they forgot to do something?
But...when I find that I was right - that the other person didn’t do their job, fix the error, pass it along, save it to the server. Perhaps, like me, they were sure they did X, but didn’t. They should fess-up. Yep. They should admit it, 'My bad.'
Most often, that original declaration of ‘I did do X' is stated in the presence of others. When I confirm that I did my part, and the other person did not, the truth is usually revealed in private.
I look stupid. The other person looks brilliant. Together. Efficient.
So what do you do? Point out what a jerk they are?
Nope, that makes you look like a jerk yourself.
You have a conversation with that person and they say, ‘Oh, okay, I forgot to do X.’ And that’s it. Your reputation of not-having-it-together lives on in the minds of others.
I hate that. Because I’m smart, and I care about doing a Really. Good. Job.
So, processes and tools are put in place so everything gets done with a level of transparency – documentation with collaboration – then you don’t have to rely on your memory. Or someone else’s. And no one looks like a loser with bad habits and, even worse, a weak memory.
This is not CYA, by the way. This is good process to ensure everything gets done, everyone knows what they need to do and work moves along with minimal errors.
And no one looks like a jerk. Unless they are just jerks.
Now, does Target carry staple guns?