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Attitude to mistakes

How do you deal with making mistakes? Do you accept that you are going to make mistakes when dealing with clients, and consider how to deal with the aftermath?

I came across a blog post by Danielle Keister where she advises new VAs that they will make mistakes. I love her attitude and her honesty in warning people that they will make mistakes – “Someone who says they never make mistakes is a liar (or delusional).”

What really caught my eye, though, is her ‘speech’ to prospective clients. She basically tells them that mistakes may occur despite her best intentions but that she will also work at fixing them as soon as she is aware of them. Her ideal business relationship is built on trust – people trust her to do the job and fix mistakes and she trusts them to be honest and give her feedback.

I have never written out my attitude about mistakes like Danielle, but I think what she has written is close to what I would write for myself. As a writer, I often deal with feedback from clients and fully expect that to occur – together, clients and I get the best result for their needs as I have the communications skills and they know their brand, business and customers best. This is why my quotes often include a certain number of edits.

Of course, that feedback is not often based on me making a mistake but on technicalities in content, personal preferences and unclear objectives. When it is my mistake, though, I apologise and do my best to quickly rectify the situation. I do that naturally out of a sense of pride and professional integrity.

Additionally, I know that I prefer a supplier to be honest and admit their mistakes to me – I am less likely to return somewhere that makes mistakes but denies or hide them. So it is a business decision to deal with mistakes openly, too.

Given that we are all human and make mistakes, do you have a policy or guideline for dealing with mistakes once you are aware of them?

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