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How to make things go right when your company messes up

Wow, how to make things go right when your company messes up. This seems like a question that's rather on the broad side of things. So many answers spring to mind!-and of course each one depends on how big your company is, what kind of mistake you've made, who you're trying to make things "go right" for, and so on. Let's start with a small, specific example then, but one which can be applied in all sorts of situations and to all sorts of companies.

Let's say that your company provides helium balloons, hot dogs, snow cones, etc., for big events in your town such as the Fourth of July. You're in there, all right; you're contracted with the town to handle the Fourth of July every year; it's a big job, and
you've got it. You've got five other employees who help you with the rush when it comes
(as it inevitably does, at least once a year).


This year, though, something disastrous occurs. Your company messes up. First of all, one of your employees comes down with small pox and can't make it to work on the Fourth. This leaves you with only three employees and yourself to handle a BIG job. Let's say that your fourth guy, the one who's sick, specialized in making the special sauce that goes on your hotdogs and that made them famous the whole town over. So, you put employee number three on the job, who, while he's stirring the ingredients, accidentally spills a vial of extra-strength laxative powder in and doesn't notice.

Now, it doesn't take an M.D. or a bird to sense the oncoming storm. Let's pass quickly over the horrifying details; all that matters is: your company messed up, and messed up royally, and you need to make things go right. Imagine yourself in this situation! Imagining yourself in situations just like these (slightly preposterous, nightmarish if true), and then creating solutions for your various problems, is a good preparatory exercise for all budding businesspersons and, indeed, for businesspersons in general.

Let's look at some ways for your company to make right what it's messed up. First of all, thousands of people suffered the peculiar embarrassment and physical discomfort of running around with exploding trousers. And on a holiday, no less! Boy, your company really messed up this time! But never fear, there are ways of making even the biggest messes go away; or at least get cleaned up substantially.

In this case, you'd want to communicate with the community immediately. That's always rule number one when a company messes up, and wants to make things right: take the initiative in the conversation. Be the first to speak. Your company messed up; now it wants to make things right. Let people know this as soon as possible. Spare no expense! If your company messes up, and you want to make things right in the most effective, efficient way possible, use all the media resources at your disposal to get the word out: You're sorry; you know what you did; you know how it happened; you know it will never happen again; and meanwhile, here's how you're going to make it up to everybody. That, in a nutshell, is the pattern for a company that's made a mess to clean things up and make things right.

It is extremely important that you don't become to discouraged, no matter how badly your company has messed things up. You can make them right again!-it's more than likely, anyway. But if you get discouraged, embarrassed-if you're too humiliated to face the public and own up to what you did-well, your company will never make things right in that case, and therefore you and your employees will live with the consequences of messing up for some time to come.

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