One truth that can’t be debated: we’re all human and mistakes happen.

Big mistakes and small, ones that can be rectified immediately and ones that require a bit more work to overcome – they’re all mistakes!

If you’ve been in business for any length of time you’ve probably made a mistake or two yourself. Of course you felt bad about making the mistake in the first place, but what you did next is what counts.

Take ownership.

Remember the kid in grade school who ALWAYS blamed someone else for something they’d done wrong? It’s been a long time since then and, well, you never want to be that “that kid” anyway. Don’t cast blame upon anyone else (even if they played a role in the mistake). Others will look more positively upon you if you step up and admit you made a mistake. It’s that honest action and what you do next that can begin to set things right.

Take steps to make it better.

Okay, you made a mistake and owned up to it, but now it is time to take action and correct it. Make certain to first carefully assess the situation to better understand what happened, then take the required steps to fix it. The worst thing you can do (besides doing nothing of course!) is to make the incorrect or inaccurate assumptions and do the wrong thing to “fix” part of the problem.

Follow-up and make sure the “fix” is working.

Sure you tried to make things better, but sometimes even your best fix isn’t working as well as it should. This isn’t the time to let things go; reassess the situation and come up with another solution. A half-fix or a fix that fails will only exacerbate the problem.

Make certain everyone impacted by the situation is aware.

Hiding a problem can only spell trouble. Affected parties may not be aware of the situation from the beginning, however when they find out after the fact they will most certainly be upset and affected even more. Don’t try to hide anything. Full disclosure is the best strategy, especially if you want to win more loyal customers or supportive co-workers when the situation is over.

It’s over so move on.

Making a mistake doesn’t feel good and there is a natural tendency to “beat yourself up” over it. No matter the situation, there is nothing to be gained by hanging on to the bad feeling and continually rehashing the circumstances. Move on from the trouble you might have precipitated and take the necessary steps to avoid the same mistake

Perhaps the most important take away from making a mistake is to learn from your experience!