Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

The Piercing Sound of “OOPS” !

May 20, 2022

by Robert Stevenson

To countless business owners and managers, that simple, one syllable, short, easy to say word …”OOPS”… is a piercing sound to their ears. It is identifying to them that something bad is getting ready to happen; complications, problems, glitches, issues, delays are now on the horizon that could possibly lead to upset clients or even losing clients. But most assuredly, “Oops” is getting ready to cost you money.

I have also found that x“Oops” seems to have a higher tendency of being spoken when people ASSUME things. When people assume ... someone else is going to do it, there is only one way to do something, everyone knows what is going on, or everyone knows how to do it … more "Oops" are getting ready to happen. I recently did a program where I had the attendees (all business owners in the same industry) identify a bad "Oops" that occurred at their company. The winner (most money spent on the "Oops") was the company whose employee cut the optical communication cable for 911 emergency phone calls in North Las Vegas.

It was standard operating procedure that they call all gas, power, utility, and communication companies and get permission granted before anyone started digging … but "Oops" … the foreman didn’t verify it had been done and it cost the company over $150,000 in fines. The foreman had assumed it had been taken care of; "Oops"!

The way to start reducing the amount of times “Oops” is spoken in your company is to get rid of ASSUMPTIONS. Make it viewed by everyone as a BAD word ...a word they should never say in any sentence. You may assume that everyone would know the best way to get a Tic Tac out of the Tic Tac mint dispenser, know the best way to eat a chicken wing, the fastest way to take off a t-shirt, or the fastest way to peel a hard-boiled egg? I am not talking rocket science here, but you might be surprised with the examples below on how to accomplish those tasks in a most efficient manner. I didn’t know any of these techniques!

How to properly dispense a Tic Tac -"
How to properly eat a chicken wing -
How to take off a t-shirt fast -
How to peel a hard-boiled egg fast -

If you want to keep improving and reduce saying “Oops” on a personal or business basis, make it a rule to always understand the facts, never assume them. Be cautious of asking opinions of people who don’t fully understand the situation. Ask the people who are involved in doing the actual job or task, what they think is the best way to do it.

The famous actor, director and producer Henry Winkler once stated, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” I think this statement is very applicable to business as well. Assumptions (termites) can eat away at your profits until you have none. The only assuming you should ever do is:

Assume Responsibility for
Your Thoughts and Actions.
– In Other Words –
Assume Responsibility for Yourself.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

FREE Robert Stevenson newsletter

Why sign up for Robert’s weekly articles:

  • It is a great way to kick-off your week

  • It will motivate, inspire, educate, and challenge you

  • It will help to make you a better employee, leader, and person

  • He shares the insights he has learned from his clients and research

  • You will receive free a collection of his favorite articles

© 2022 Seeking Excellence A Robert Stevenson Corporation. All Rights Reserved