As I was reading Hillbilly PhD's post on being accountable
, I reflected on a mistake that I made recently. It was like any other six sigma project that I have been involved in, except that this one was taking a little longer than expected; so there was some sense of urgency to get it moving a little more briskly. Maybe it was due to the quicken pace of things that made it less obvious (at least at the time) that I made the mistake, of guiding the project and the team towards a different path. Different not as in flat out wrong, but certainly not where we should be. Anyway, at that time, I was confident and happy about the progress that we made. It was one morning a short while later that, while I was reflecting on the project, I realised my mistake. It was at that moment that a number of things were going through my mind.
It may not be my project, I was just helping out, but it is still my mistake
. It may be because I was asked to get the project moving and I went in at a time when it seriously had to get moving, hence the sense of urgency, but it is still a mistake; an honest mistake of mine
. It was clear as crystal what I had to do. Admit my mistake, take responsibility of it and sort it out, get the project back on track, to where it should be. But as Hillbilly PhD says, being accountable is not easy. Why? Well... for me at least, it's because I felt that I was the person people relied on to get things done, to make the right decisions, to sort things out back to its 'right'-ful place wherever that may be, that I've always delivered, and seemingly will continue to do so; but not this time
. Did it made me question my abilities, what I felt I was good at? Did it strike my confidence? Did it make me think of what people thought now of my abilities, of their belief in me? To a certain degree, yes. It may have been just one bad decision, but time and resources were wasted, we have to move two steps back just to get back on track. Serious results of a bad decision. My decision, My mistake. But...But
I believe in being honest. Something which I take a certain pride in. But I always say that honesty is both my gift and my curse. At times there is a price to pay for our honesty. It's no different this time. But the opposite is far worse, which makes it rarely an option (I would rather say never, but I guess there are situations that warrant it). Furthermore, as someone famous once said that we wouldn't need such great memory if we only told the truth
. And I don't exactly have the best of memories.But
I've always believe that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. And we will do so many more times in our lifetime. It is inevitable. It's only human. I'm only human. Even machines produce defective products. I made a mistake, but I will not let it become a failure. A mistake becomes a failure if we fail to acknowledge that it was a mistake and especially if we fail to take the time to understand and to learn from it
. And the best way to acknowledge it is to be accountable for it; to admit and to take responsibility for it.
And that's exactly what I did.
It is not always easy to do the right things, but, we can save ourselves a whole lot of time and trouble if we invest a lttle more time to do things right the first time. It is much more difficult to clean up a mess than it is to avoid it. Believe me, I have done my share of cleaning up the messes I have created. Most of those messes were created by trying to avoid something I should have faced in the beginning. Things I did not want to admit to or work through. I am learning that personal strength is based on your character. character is a by product of your integrity and your sense of personal accountability.--Hillbilly PhD