I am careful, meticulous, and detail oriented. I like to consider all of the options before taking a particular course of action. I dislike making mistakes, especially when there is a monetary cost involved in a mistake. In effect, I like to “get it right the first time” instead of going full speed ahead, doing something halfway, then repairing the collateral damage to correct my course. I have worked with countless people, including numerous employees of my company, whose style of doing things is contrary to mine. Instead of taking a few extra moments to consider their actions and, just as important, the consequences of their actions, these people forge ahead without planning, make mistakes (some quite serious and costly), then sheepishly exclaim, “I am a person who learns by my mistakes.” While no one is perfect, I am unable to abide by the philosophy that mistakes happen, everything will work out, and tomorrow will be a better day. Instead, I believe someone who is doing something for the first time, or after a long period of not doing it, or in a different than usual way, should take the time to find out the best approach. Often, in the world of business, all it takes is asking the boss for his/her suggestions regarding a course of action. At a minimum, there are many resources available on just about every subject, including a “how to” video on YouTube, that can be consulted in the interest of avoiding errors and the conflicts they create. I truly believe that, if something is worth doing, it should be done right the first time. No excuses, please.
I have a memory from decades ago when I attending an open house at a trucking company with my father and seeing a sign that said “If you don’t have time to get it right the first time, when will you have time to get it right?”. That stuck with me and, like Melissa, doing things right has always been a driving force in my life. “Right” is, of course relative, and many times as an entrepreneur, I have found myself in uncharted territory – a point discussed in another post about what to do when there are no rules. But, “right,” in a work context, usually means to the best of one’s ability when one is in a situation where there are no specific objectives or “rules.” As a “boss,” one of my frustrations over the years has been when an employee does something wrong, because he/she didn’t know how to do it right, or at all – but never asked for help or clarification. Despite training, despite being available to be asked, the task is done “half way” (I could think of another term) or not at all. I’ve never been reluctant to ask for help when in a subordinate position, or even when in charge of a situation. It is much better to do it right than to have to undo a mistake. When approaching a new task, it pays to objectively evaluate one’s understanding of the task. Then, one must determine if he/she has the abilities to complete the task. Knowing one’s limitations in this regard is important. It is not acceptable to “turn in completed work” as if it were a school assignment. The consequences of doing something wrong in a workplace go beyond one’s own grade point average in that the actions reflect on the company, owners, partners, etc. Some people may be paralyzed when they do not know how to get something done. Others seem blissfully unaware that they do not know how to do something (right). Finding the balance, listening to the task assigned, and asking for input is the way to get the job done, right, the first time.