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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

The Piercing Sound Of “OOPS” !

Robert Stevenson Blog - Man hitting his hand against his forehead

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 - to take off a t-shirt fast - 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.


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