Regular readers will notice that this missive is coming out Wednesday morning rather than its usual Tuesday morning. I generally write this early Tuesday morning but sometimes write the evening before or even days earlier depending on my travel and appointment schedule. This week, having some time Monday evening, I decided to spend it thinking deep Benari leadership and management thoughts.

Imagine my surprise when I was unable to access the WordPress site where I write this. I am totally convinced that I did something wrong that irritated the internet gremlins and they fought back.

After an extended fruitless exercise in trying to figure out what was wrong I reached out to my Web Ogres, hoping they could easily vanguish the internet gremlins.  By then it was late and not reaching them immediately, I went to bed.

Rising at my usual 4:30 or 5 I discovered I still was not able to gain access. Actually I wasn’t even able to access WordPress much less my place there.  There were emails from Web Ogres telling me it was all working fine. For them, at least.

So we talked and they remotely accessed my computer and after about 45 minutes of looking around discovered that something had glitched, fixed it, and all is well. Except I missed the deadline for sending this out so here it is Wednesday morning.

On the bright side, while wandering around in the guts of my computer they updated a few things, showed me some WordPress tools I never knew existed, were lively and fun on the phone, and generally talked me down off the cliff. And I received a few nice emails from other of their ogres who weren’t helping me out, giving me words of encouragement and a few biting comments from those who know me well.

All in all, it was an interesting learning experience and I am now more convinced than ever of their knowledge, expertise, and good humor at dealing with the technologically incompetent…me…while speaking in plain language with a soothing voice.

I share this story since it is the prelude to an odd thing that happened during this experience: they sent out a test post through my system which oddly went to everyone although it was not supposed to.  You all got it.  It was titled “Test Post”.  Clever that.

Quite a few of you responded to this test post which I found extraordinary…and quite satisfying. Extraordinary that you took the time and satisfying to know you cared enough to do this.

So I forwarded the Test Post sent back by a reader to Paul Fleming the Web Ogre who had directly helped me, with a note saying “Interesting thing is I am getting some responses so that is fun.”

He responded with “Always find it amazing when you make a mistake people come out of the woodwork where they would normally not engage at all. I’ve heard companies intentionally make mistakes for the PR and added engagement angle.”

After thinking about this experience and Paul’s comment just above, it occurred to me that first of all I owed you all an apology for darkening your inbox with our Test Post. Sorry about that. Second there’s something about this for you to think about. There was no stupid joke about me, you, or anything the least bit offensive in the test note…while there often is since the senders think no one will see it.  But as this story shows, you never know.  And stuff on the internet lives forever.  Keep this in mind and remind everyone in your organization about this.

Then there’s the thought about being particularly clever at how you engage people, for engage you must. What does stand out from the flood of information washing over everyone?  Mistakes on purpose? An interesting idea to ponder.

Surely this is an example of great customer service exhibiting the required technical expertise partered with knowing how to talk to an irritated client.  The result? A satisfied client leading to a bit of good public relations rather than a slamming review.

But mostly, I wrote this since I’ve notice that all too often people only share the good things that happen and leave the impression that they can do no wrong. They’ve never made a mistake, never had a failure, never watched a favored idea go down in flames.

It isn’t true.

We’ve all failed numerous times, some bigger than others.  It’s not the mistakes or failures that are the issue, it’s what you do afterward that shows your character.  And how you take accountability and fix them going forward. Real leaders admit and accept their blemishes and forge ahead in spite of them. Their behavior is a guide for others and sets the culture going forward.

And as for the others, I leave it to your imagination. Or look around, they’re everywhere.



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