Righting wrongs

11 Jul

Do we judge an organisation on its ability to get things right first time, or on its ability to make things right quickly and creatively? I suspect the latter, because we give no credit to those who merely do what is expected of them.

I’ve taken up the cases of several students concerned about their results and their resits. In two cases, those results were simply wrong and – despite this being the holiday season – my colleagues have quickly corrected these mistakes. (Nobody’s perfect: this includes individuals, organisations and systems; but everyone should be striving to improve.) The relief has been palpable.

The lesson from this is that organisations need to empower those in customer- (or student-) facing roles to apply commonsense, think creatively and take decisions. This is harder than it sounds.

The cynical thought is that organisations can gain credit by making deliberate mistakes in order to quickly and publicly correct them. Is this why there are so many product recalls?

2 Responses to “Righting wrongs”

  1. Lauren Vargas 13/07/2007 at 5:53 pm #

    I have never thought about this situation. The crisis is not in the intended crisis communications but the lack of ethics.
    This action might backfire with the millenial market because once fooled, always jaded behavior.

  2. Eric Eggertson 17/07/2007 at 10:46 pm #

    I think we often unrealistically expect perfection. But when an organization shows its willingness to correct a mistake, they get full marks.
    As for purposely making mistakes, I don’t think that’s common with traditional products. With a lot of web 2.0 sites, the rule seems to be to get a product out quickly and see if it has appeal, rather than spend an extra year making it perfect, only to find out no one wants the service. So in that case, I think there isn’t as much of an effort to test and remove all possible problems.

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