The Oscars mix-up was a hot topic following up the 2017 ceremony. As I think about this and the error that was made, I believe there are several lessons that we can walk away with.
If you are in doubt – ASK.
You could see Warren Beatty clearly questioning the envelope. He hesitated but didn’t voice his concern. He looked to Faye Dunaway for confirmation of his suspicion that something wasn’t right, but since he did not articulate
The lesson here is when in doubt, ASK. There are a lot of moving parts in our job. People are often afraid to ask a question for fear that they don’t sound intelligent enough. I think the opposite is true. By asking a question on something you are unsure of goes to show you care enough to make sure every aspect is correct. That shows you are concerned about the details.
One of my favorite quotes is “The only stupid question is the question that is never asked.” I bet Warren Beatty wishes he would have asked.
If you make an error – OWN IT.
Don’t pass the buck, don’t deny or try to cover, just own up that you made the mistake. You will gain a lot more respect by your honesty. Explain the situation and do your best to fix it.
The cast and crew of La La Land were already well into their acceptance speeches for Best Picture when it was realized a mistake had been made and that the award was meant for Moonlight. At that point, they graciously handed over their awards to the correct winners. While everyone was still struggling to find out what happened, the show went on. The blame first landed on presenters Warren and Faye. Warren explained what happened and Jimmy Kimmel added some humor to try and make a sensitive, unfortunate situation more comfortable. We all know that in the end, it was the accounting firm that was responsible - they simply handed Warren the wrong card. They didn’t deny it, they owned it, apologized, and are looking at solutions to ensure the mistake doesn’t happen again. They thanked everyone for their grace in handling the situation.
Since I love quotes – here is another favorite quote – “Mistakes are forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” - Bruce Lee
If you make a mistake – LEARN FROM IT.
What you learn from a mistake has the power to turn you into something better than you were before. The more experienced you are the more mistakes you have made. And when mistakes do happen, it’s how we respond and handle the situation that really matters most.
How we correct a mistake defines us. Sometimes the mistakes we make are the best opportunities to expand our relationships. How do you turn lemons into lemonade? Our attitude and responsiveness are the most important factors to developing the best resolution. And although often painful and even embarrassing, we are better in the end for them.