You screwed up. Now what?

Everybody screws up, Andrew Norcross says on the newly popular Dear Design Student. The differentiator is how you handle it.

All it takes is a few hours delay here, then one piece taking a bit longer than anticipated, plus a kid getting sick and BAM! A missed deadline.

Here’s the thing about deadlines. Rarely are they actually set in stone. Yes, sometimes they are tied to product launches or larger marketing campaigns with a strict calendar date, but usually a deadline is simply the date people want it. That doesn’t mean it can be ignored, but also realize that it doesn’t mean that things are beyond repair. That being said, the minute you get an inkling that you might miss one, let people know. Don’t wait until the date passes to tell people as such. People can deal with bad news, but they hate surprises.

That last part is so true, and I’ve been on both sides of it. There is nothing worse than a surprise. Yet, so often, I hear stories, or I experience myself, someone not owning up to the missed deadline or failure, and instead just dropping off the map. Nothing is less professional.

It’s tempting to just ignore stuff until it goes away. But it’s a small world, and doing this won’t get us anywhere. So… when you screw up, own up to it. Fix it. And learn from it. Great piece by Mr. Norcross.

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