Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to be awesome when you screw up!


Some people cling to the idea that if they admit they are wrong or ask for help that they will be seen to be week.    Even the powerful fall into this trap.   That just isn't true. 

The problem with not admitting you are wrong is that you then have to defend a position that you know is wrong.   It is a terrible position to get trapped into.  You become a prisoner of your own doing.  

What to do when you realize you were wrong but want to be seen as being awesome.

1.  Admit you were wrong
2.  Say you are sorry
3.  Say what you've learned

That's it!  

I am reminded of a master of this technique, Ralph Klein the former Premier of the Province of Alberta.   He was a leader who made many mistakes and yet the people loved him for it, because he used this technique.    Unlike almost any other politician I've ever seen he would stand before the cameras and admit he had screwed up, apologize and promise to make it right.

And how did the voters respond?    They gave him massive landslide victory after another.   Why?   Because they saw him as human.   They saw him as being one of them.   They were quick to forgive him of his mistakes and loved the guy for his honesty and vulnerability.  And it drove the opposition NUTS!

PLUS, he didn't get caught in the trap so many politicians make for themselves.   He didn't have to try and defend something that was wrong.   Why the other politicians never learned this lesson is beyond me. 

"Saying you're sorry and apologizing makes you look awesome"

What about asking for help?

As long as you are not just looking for handouts, asking for help is an incredible persuasion technique.   First, to the person being asked it is a great compliment because it demonstrates that you have the power to help.

It also takes a certain confidence to ask for help.   It shows you are not hiding behind a false ego.   A manager who asks an employee to help him has just gained a big fan.   It can be a great compliment and motivator to be asked by a superior to help out.   It is a much greater motivator than being told to do something.  It creates a bond between the asker and the giver.

It is also a shortcut to success.    Here is an example...

Recently I was attempting to sell an investor an expensive property.   I sensed my presentation was going nowhere fast.    So I stopped and said to him....I am wondering if you could help me?    I can tell you are not that interested in my proposal.   It would sure help me if you were tell me what it would take to get your business?

What followed is he really spilled the beans.   He told me exactly how to sell to him!  Long story short I made the sale.

Asking for help can also give you a tremendous advantage over your competitiors.   No sense wasting time and resources trying to guess what your boss or custormer wants.   Just ask for their help.   They will be complimented and recognize how smart you are for seeking their wise counsel.  

"Asking for help can make you look awesome"


I'm sure in my life that I have being wrong many, many times.   I'm sorry and please accept my apology.   I promise to do better next time!

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