Making mistakes deserves respect

Blog located in Leadership posted on December 9, 2016

At every year-end, I pay attention to Failwatching’s top chess listing. As they put it, Failwatching ‘focuses on failures because we’re intrigued by success.’

Unless you’ve been living disconnected from the world, you probably heard or read about the Volkswagen scam, the Wells Fargo fraud or the look of the new Toblerone chocolate bar.

These are three cases of disastrous company brand failures.

Lessons learned

In today’s social media age, everything you do gets noticed. There is no such thing as hiding. Don’t kid yourself: truth always prevails.

When Michael McCain, former CEO at Maple Leaf Foods, appeared in a television ad to issue a candid apology for the outbreak, he surprised most of us. His approach was different. In fact, he genuinely cared for the well-being of his consumers. He also appeared to be the face of more than 23,000 employees across the world. Michael McCain took accountability on behalf of his employees and the world.

In fact, his approach helped Maple Leaf Foods ‘emerge relatively unscathed from one of the worst food-borne illness outbreaks in Canadian history,’  said the Canadian press.’

This was eight years ago.

Core values

One of Maple Leafs Foods’ core values is to be committed to food safety. In 2008, they failed to adhere to this value and expressed remorse.

“Mistake” is defined as an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong. But when core values are not made clear, then what’s the reference used when a mistake happens? As a matter of fact, how can one know they are even making a mistake? How can one be held accountable when the direction of the company is not clear?

Mistakes are very valuable for growth. The attitude of the organizations depends very much on the attitude of the leaders It is the survival of the company that depends on it.

Get your core values straight, take accountability and learn from your mistakes. Be in the news for the right reasons. Your employees will be proud and will belong to your brand.