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The Business and Accounting Advisor

Business survivability in this economy is difficult at best. This blog will offer useful business and accounting advise and ideas for ongoing business and competitive advantage.

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OH NO, we made a mistake.

May 17th, 2013 at Fri, 17th, 2013 at 12:23 pm by glennsmith

OH MY GOD, we have done something wrong.

I have to laugh with people who look at a number of groups of people and think oh these people must be perfect. The groups include, pastors, politicians, surgeons, air traffic controllers, and so many more. The problem is people are NOT PERFECT nor will they ever be. We look at children and expect them to make mistakes but we look at those individuals who take the position of leadership and demand infallibility from them. How strange we are. So what happens when these people do make mistakes? Hopefully the redundant systems keep these mistakes from costing lives. As far back as the 70’s Aviziens (1976) argued redundant systems don’t work.

I love reading in the Voice of the Valley Chuck Hardaway’s writing. I especially like his title. Whomever came up with that title was brilliant, “One man’s opinion.” An opinion is not right or wrong. An opinion is simply what one person believes and shares. You know something interesting about that? Opinions change. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. Most people will be from time to time and should that stop us from exploring or advancing? I do not believe it should.

Lately, I have enjoyed greatly writing and reading editorials. I like sharing my “opinion” through the marvelous invention of writing. Yes it was an invention at one point thousands of years ago and we don’t always get it right. Sometimes our “opinions” are just wrong. Now don’t get me wrong. I still stand by my opinions and believe them to be correct. I still think Maple Valley made mistakes in deciding upon how to handle the legal situations and not thinking through the problems of firing the lawyer we had before we had and I made comment on an article that had already been written. I wrote about Maple Valley not having legal representation because someone else had written the article.

I also wrote lately that some people throughout the world think of the United States as a bully. This is a fact, deal with it. I personally lean to the conservative side and even fancy myself a near republican independent. This is also an “opinion.”   How interesting that some people would argue that people who not have an opinion and share it. These same people are just like those that told Columbus He should not go into sailing, George Washington, that independence was not worth fighting for, and Jesus that he should just keep His mouth shut. Jesus, however, I believe (my opinion is) never made a mistake. Then again He had an inside knowledge base that was better than our own. Likely this is why we call Him Lord and Savior.

It is interesting how many people do not believe people should make mistakes. Not only should they make mistakes but Schoemaker and Gunther (2006) argued some forward thinking companies advanced their companies bottom lines by deliberately making mistakes. I encourage my students in school to deliberately make mistakes and when they don’t know a question on a test guess. The worst thing that can happen is you will be wrong. The best thing that might happen is you may learn something. Oh no. Learn? Yes! Learn! That’s what we do. Even teachers learn.

So what do we do when people make mistakes? Most of us condemn them and say they should never do another thing and should go hide their heads in shame and be dismissed from the job they are doing. I say they should learn and continue so they don’t make the same mistake next time. For those people who would condemn people for making mistakes I simply say, think again. It’s ok to make mistakes and share your opinion. Even when people disagree with you go ahead and make them. For those who hold jobs where mistakes can be costly I say make sure your redundant systems are operating so these mistakes don’t cost people’s lives.


Aviziens, A. (1976). Fault-tolerant systems. Computers, IEEE Transactions on, 100(12), 1304-1312.


Schoemaker, P. J. H., & Gunther, R. E. (2006). The wisdom of deliberate mistakes. . Harvard Business Review, 84(6), 108-115.



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