Mistake Management

Here’s a phrase I learned after watching a sports psychologist on Sky News explain how Robert Green could recover from his goalkeeping howler against America, which helped prevent England starting well in the World Cup.

Mistake Management is where you come to terms with the error and quickly move on, mainly by focusing on what you did that was good, either side of your costly blunder.

In a protracted sales campaign, sometimes the vendor that makes the least mistakes can end up winning. Mistakes are traps at every turn. Misunderstanding a key instruction, personality clashes, a meeting going unhelpfully off-topic, late completion of promised tasks, misinterpretation of requirements. There’s plenty of scope for set backs.

The issue often, is that each one can create a crisis management mentality. This has the twinfold negative impact of amplifying what happened, usually out of all proportion, and removing any confidence, as what is good is forgotten, almost snubbed out completely and unable to be built on.

One difference between Green and many a salesperson, is that at least he held his hand up straight away and wasn’t blamed by his compadres, nor boss. Although in this case, he was not given a chance to atone in the next match, his road back still depends, according to the psychologist, on how quickly he can learn from his mistake and rectify it.

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