It isn’t a weakness to ask for help

In life, in business, things don’t always work out as we’d planned. Sometimes we have to make decisions with incomplete information, sometimes events overtake us, and sometimes we just plainly make the wrong call.
What marks successful individuals and organisations out, isn’t that they never make mistakes, but how they deal with them.

Many businesses are currently in the position of making decisions in the face of considerable ‘unknowns’. Global politics, Brexit and general economic uncertainty add to the usual challenge of trying to predict what our clients and the market will need. In reality, we can’t control those things. But we can control our own activities and behaviour.

We must all be accountable for our own actions and accept the burden of others’ expectations. When we do something well we should expect praise and reward. When things don’t go so well we must be accountable – and we shouldn’t be afraid of this.

When something is going wrong it seems easier to say nothing and hope that, somehow, it will get better. It almost never does! It gets worse. And then we worry about the consequences even more. So it’s even harder to say something – a vicious circle.

If you think something is going wrong then it probably is. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and say so. Certainly, don’t wait until it is too late, and don’t be afraid to ask for help – it isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.

Although we would clearly like to eradicate errors completely in our business, we are all human and we all make mistakes. The consequences of a negative action, a mistake or misjudgement can be mitigated if we identify and deal with it early enough.

Better data, better forecasting and better reporting create greater certainty. This should lead to fewer mistakes and reduce their impact. But mistakes there will still be. By being open about them (and creating a culture where this can happen), we can intervene earlier, learn and grow.

John Craig.

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