You’re fired! And then what?

Somebody at Motrin blew it.

Who? I can’t tell you. But somebody blew it.

What do you do in such a situation? Do you look for someone to blame? And when you’ve found your culprits, are you going to reprimand them, or worse, fire them?

What if, just for the sake of trying to be really different and outstanding, you give them all means to make it up to the moms, the colleagues, the company and to themselves?

Suppose you don’t. Suppose you fire them right away, what message are you sending?

Right: we don’t tollerate mistakes.

Mistakes? Not in our house.

Think for a second about the opportunities you’re about to miss and the mistakes you’re about to make just because you’ve shown how intolerant your organization is of mistakes.

How secure would you feel when your boss comes to tell you that the company is so fragile that every mistake you make could mean the end of your job and perhaps of the company?

Everybody can screw up. But can you fix it?

Now what would happen if you let your employees go after a real solution for what happened? Suppose the unfortunate team at Motrin gets the permission to invite hundreds of moms to work with them. Suppose you send your team to the field to understand and feel what went wrong.

How powerful, experienced and wise would that make them? How powerful would that make your company?

Imagine your clients meeting the people who wronged them honestly trying to understand why they failed to understand them.

That ‘s something no massive – and therefore unpersonal – mailcampaign or apology on your corporate website can accomplish.

You’re in the people’s business, not in the business’ business

People understand people. They can deal with the fact that people make mistakes. It makes them even more humane if they try to make up for them.

People who manage to recover from such a mistake are today’s real heroes. No one else will have experienced what they have. And therefore, they deserve credit and appraisal.

People hate companies

Companies are impersonal. They are hard to feel sorry for, let alone forgive.

Some companies are hypocrites. While communicating it’s all about being personally involved and familyish bullshit. But when things are getting rough companies suddenly turn into heartless systems sending invoices, personal threats, firing employers, shutting you out, …

Pretentious hero, moi?

They pretend to be heroes, but when there are hard times ahead? Right. People get fired. They’re ordered to leave the ship because suddenly they’re ballast. You have to get rid of them as fast as you can.

Nobody thinking about sticking together even in hard times? No one thinking about redesigning the ship together and making it the strongest in the business. Think about the head start you’ll have when you manage to pull this one off?

Whether you’re prepared to take that risk or not, don’t hide behind your company. Don’t hide behind the fact that your employees are simply human. It won’t do the trick.

It’s precisely your courage to allow your people to remain human at all times that will make you and your company stronger.

Don’t pretend to be superman. Dare to work at making your people superbly human.

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