Friday Philosophizing on Thursday

How do you create a great company culture?

  • By showing genuine concern for your employees,
  • By communicating openly,
  • By admitting that you’re not perfect; you’ve made mistakes.

Steve Shurts, CEO of East Central Energy reinforces this caring culture by posting his
Friday Philosophizing email to all employees.  His message on June 11th: especially resonated with me: he gave me permission to share it with you.   Dear Employees –
There are plenty of names for the times something doesn’t go as planned: error; blunder; mistake; miscue; oops; and yes, near miss.  None of us plan for a typo, or leaving a nut loose on a bolt, or scraping the side of our vehicle on the garage door frame, or making a mathematical error, or sending an email to the wrong person.  But they happen.  I’ve done every one of those things.  We’re all human.  We make mistakes.  Below is a quote attributed to the great Alabama coach, Bear Bryant.

When you make a mistake, there are only three things you shuold ever do about it:  admint it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.

Paul Bear Bryant

I like his quote, especially the first thing – admit it.  That goes to the root of an organization’s culture – a culture we strive for at ECE.  Here are some thoughts of mine.

  1. The event may have affected others, so they need to know.  An example is a math error.  If your information is being used by others, they need to have the correct number.
  2. It’s possible a coworker could make the same mistake, so you should provide them with “prevention” information.  This is crucial with near misses.  I think we all know discipline is out of the question when near misses are reported.  In fact, I applaud anyone who reports a near miss.  But there may still be some hesitancy to report them because the person might be embarrassed or think s/he will be ridiculed.  Throw those thoughts to the wind.  What’s better, staying silent and someone else has an accident, or talking about it and feeling a little humble.  And the person who ridicules you is not someone I want working for me.
  3. Determine what needs to be done, so it isn’t repeated.  Maybe you need to slow down, check and recheck, get help, or change a procedure or practice.
  4. When a coworker makes a mistake, don’t focus on blame and don’t disparage them.  I’ve never met a person who didn’t feel bad when s/he made a mistake.  Remember, we don’t know everything that goes into a person’s job.  Rather than jumping on the mistake, take the time to learn more about what the person does.  It’s all about mutual respect.  We need to respect each other for what we bring to and do for ECE.

And, I think one of the best pieces of advice was in [our CFO’s] email of May 24, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  And my dad used to say, “Most everything is the small stuff.”
June is here. Accidents, in all their nasty forms, are ready to bite you. Please drive, boat, 4-wheel, swim and play safely.

The road is easier together,
Linda

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