A&E marketing and business development guest post: Show your warts

We all make mistakes.  So what do you do when you make one?

This is the third in Deltek’s A&E marketing and business development blog series.  Founder and President of Stone and Company, expert David Stone, talks about the importance of owning up when you have made a mistake.  With this insight (backed by Deltek Vision CRM and the integrated suite of Vision marketing solutions), Deltek’s goal is simple: To help your firm win more work! Enjoy. To learn more about Deltek Vision CRM, check out this demo.

Show your warts

We all know them. They’re the sorts who, after they’ve dropped the ball, go to great lengths to assure us it wasn’t their fault and deflect the blame to some other poor schmuck. The saddest thing about this kind of person is the utter transparency of their efforts. Usually, the fault is so obvious that their efforts to duck responsibility would be humorous if they weren’t so despicable.

The one thing we all have in common with this poor sap is that we screw up. Regularly. And sometimes in a really big way. What separates us is what we do after we step in the doo-doo.

Who would you rather work with: The person who makes a mistake, then tells you why it wasn’t really a mistake, why it doesn’t matter and why it actually wasn’t their fault? Or the person who comes to you, tells you they’ve made a mistake (often before you find out on your own) and tells you what they’re going to do to fix it? Your clients would rather work with that person too.

When you try to hide a problem you’ve created or deflect the blame elsewhere, the trust that others have in you disappears. But when you step up and face the music, your credibility takes a huge leap. “If she’s being honest with me about this, I’ve got to believe she’s going to be honest with me about everything.” It doesn’t feel very good in the moment, but the long-term benefits are enormous.

Sure it’s embarrassing to screw up. We all want to appear to be perfect and our egos take a big hit when we fall short of the mark. Our first instinct is to hide and hope no one notices. But then, when someone does notice, our second instinct is to make excuses or point the finger elsewhere. Every one of these actions simply digs the hole deeper, making it that much harder to climb out in the end. As much as it goes against your survival instincts, resist the temptation to duck, cover up or deflect. It makes you look like the two-year old who covers his eyes and thinks that nobody can see him.

Your client knows you’re not infallible. They know you’re going to make mistakes.

When you make that inevitable mistake, that’s the time to show what you’re really made of.  Step up right away, tell the truth about what happened, then tell what you’re going to do about it. It isn’t that you screwed up. It’s about what you do after it hits the fan.

When you mess up, ‘fess up. This is a golden opportunity to set yourself truly apart from everyone else.


About Jon Bornstein

Jon Bornstein manages Deltek's marketing in the A&E industry across North America. His job is to ensure that firms understand the many ways they can drive business value using Deltek purpose-built solutions.
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