October 2, 2017

When you mess up, it's MY fault

The other day my plumber called; texted… who calls anymore. It was a picture of my clients Newport Brass wall-mounted faucet hovering just about an inch off my vanity top.

Right where I had planned to drop my three-inch thick concrete vessel sink. Obviously wrong, I kept my cool and went into immediate “solution mode.” I told him that I was in route to see him so we could come up with the best option on site, immediately. I am not one to “think about it.” I have about 100 things on my mind at any time, so I am going to look at it and make a decision. I did, I told him we would rip the tile off the wall ($58/SF tile) so he could raise the faucet up to where it needs to be. This was no doubt my fault. I laid out the faucet height and gave the okay to the plumber. Who am I going to blame anyway?

However, what if one of my guys laid it out? Would I have reacted differently? Would I have been mad at him for his mistake? No. Shit rolls uphill when you are the guy at the top and strive to be a leader versus a boss. I could have given them all the information they needed to complete that task, and if they still screwed it up. It is on me. Maybe I put too much trust in my guys to know how to execute, on me. Maybe I gave them all but 2% of the information they needed, on me. Maybe I gave them all but 2% of the information they needed, and they were afraid to ask and look like an idiot, on me. Maybe they messed up because they are unqualified for the job, and didn’t have a chance in hell of getting it right. Still on me! I was the one who hired them right? I probably told myself that I could train them and I did not.

My guys know this, they find out when they screw up that I am going to sit down with them, calm and collective and walk them through the situation. How did it happen? How can we prevent it next time? I will even explain how this falls on me, and what I need to do next time. In return I expect them to bring their ideas and solutions to the table. Not only what they should or could do differently, but how could I have prepared them differently.

For more on this subject, check out the book Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink.

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