How To Deal With Business Mistakes

Feb
24
2016

No matter who you are or what profession you are in you are going to make mistakes. Stephen Curry misses free throws, Tom Brady misses open receivers and public speakers fumble over words from time to time.  This is all just part of life especially in the real estate business.  It is not how many mistakes you make but you take from them.  Do you get emotional and temperamental when you make a mistake?  Do you beat yourself up for days on end?  Did you learn what you did wrong?  Regardless if you are working on your first deal or have been in the business for decades you are not immune to mistakes.  It is how you deal with them that makes all the difference.  Here are five things you need to do after making a business mistake.

  • Own it. It is usually not the mistake that gets you in trouble but how you react after it. As soon as you recognize that you have done something wrong and made a mistake you need to own it. This means immediately reaching out to your business partner, attorney, contractor and whoever else you may have impacted. These conversations will not be easy but they are necessary. Don’t point the finger at others or make excuses for what happened. Stand up and own your mistakes. This is the best thing you can do for a variety of reasons. For starters it allows you to start working on a solution without any hesitation. Secondly, and arguably more important, is it helps your reputation. By not acknowledging a mistake or hiding it for as long as possible you are immediately seen as untrustworthy. This is much worse than any mistake you can make. You are only human and mistakes happen from time to time. As soon as they do you need to own them.
  • Avoid frustration. How would you react if someone on your team made a mistake? Would you jump down their throat and scream at them? Would you find whoever made the mistake and write a scathing text or email? In much the same way that you make mistakes the people around you are no different. Sure, some of the mistakes are costlier than others but they are not intentional. As angry as you may get you need to need to take a deep breath and think before you say something you will regret. This doesn’t mean you can’t express your anger or disappointment but you need to do it in the right way. Don’t embarrass someone in front of their peers or co-workers. In most cases they recognize that they made a mistake and feel worse than you do. Bite your tongue, think before you hit send and avoid getting too frustrated when mistakes happen.
  • Be a problem solver. Almost as soon as a mistake presents itself you need to turn into a problem solver. Here is where you can distinguish yourself from your competition. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was or how you got into the problem. The only thing that should matter is how you are going to save a deal or resolve an issue with a rehab project. The quicker you can turn into a problem solver the faster you put the mistake behind you. It is important to make decisions quickly but not hastily. Evaluate all of the options that you have on the table. There will be times when you need to choose the best of only bad options but that is what leadership is all about. As soon as you figure out which way you want to go you need to take the ball and run with it. This won’t be ideal but you have to play the hand you are dealt with. The best real estate investors are often the best problem solvers.
  • Find the root. If you don’t get to the root of the mistake you are bound to have it happen again. When you make a mistake you shouldn’t dismiss it. Even if you know what you did wrong you should ask yourself why. Were you too busy multitasking that you overlooked a certain item? Did you ignore warning signs that were clearly in front of you? When you make a mistake it can go two ways. The first is that it opens the door to future errors. The other thing that can happen is that you can learn from it and never have it happen again. This will only happen if you truly get to the bottom of the cause and make a plan to change.
  • Bounce back. Making a mistake that costs you a deal or thousands of dollars of profit is a tough blow to overcome. You can beat yourself up for days and weeks on end. Not only does the mistake cost you on whatever you are working on but it impacts future business and relationships. It is ok to take a day or two to feel sorry for yourself and reflect on what happened but anything longer is unacceptable. After you made your calls and understand what you can fix you need to bounce back into business mode. A conversation with a friend or mentor can help. Maybe a strenuous workout at the gym can change your perspective. Whatever it is you do to get back on track you should do. The real estate business doesn’t wait for you to get over a mistake. The sooner you bounce back and put it behind you the sooner you can move on.

Dealing with mistakes isn’t fun but it is an important part of the business. Every now and then you will catch yourself doing something that you can’t believe you did.  When that happens you should think about these five steps and quickly put a mistake behind you.

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