How communicators can benefit from their workplace blunders

Screwups are painful, but you probably won’t make the same miscue again. Comparably, confronting a chaotic culture takes courage but can pave a path to pristine positivity.

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How to learn from workplace mistakes

Sometimes it takes a huge, stinky mess to bring about greater cleanliness.

This is true in writing, at the workplace and in your kitchen. Mistakes and messes are a bitter pill to swallow for those of us with a bent toward self-flagellation and for people with lofty personal standards.

However, it’s crucial not to beat yourself up—nor run for the hills—when faced with embarrassing fumbles or sticky situations. Embrace the stink, learn from it, and use the opportunity to create cleanliness out of chaos.

Let us count these sorts of blunders as blessings:

The cringeworthy typo

Not long after starting at Ragan, I quickly dashed off an email to a colleague that started, “Hi Brenda.” The only problem was that this email was meant for “Brendan.”

Since that embarrassing goof, I take an extra pass to double- and triple-check that I have each email recipient’s name spelled correctly.

I have similar horror stories about missing obvious errors in print pieces, which is the fools’ gold standard for enduring editorial shame. I’ll skip the gory details, but let’s just say that in Spanish, “ano” is not the same as “año.”

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