The Double Checking Bonus

We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. The difference between the people who are great and people who are mediocre is not whether they make mistakes. It is how they deal with them and when they deal with them. Mediocre performers allow a mistake to go unobserved until it confronts a customer or end user. A great performer has a system in place that catches and corrects mistakes before anyone suffers.

Among the most costly line items in any organization’s ledgers are the mistakes that are made and have to be corrected. If you send out the wrong order to a valued client, you not only have to deal with the cost of recalling what you sent and delivering the correct order, but you deal with the loss of reputation and faith that the customer no longer feels for you and your team. The measurable cost is the shipping, restocking, and accounting charges that result from the mistake. The intangible cost which may never be fully understood involves future business and referrals that you will never see.

My late, great colleague Dr. Wayne Dyer was one of the best authors and speakers of his generation. He had a vendor who shipped out all of his books and videos to corporate clients and individuals. He instructed the vendor to double check all orders, but when the inevitable mistake was made, they were to contact him personally. Dr. Dyer called each of his clients and spoke to them individually, apologizing for the mistake and letting them know he would be overnighting them the correct order which he would personally autograph, and he would include a free copy of his latest book or video free-of-charge. Dr. Dyer had calculated that the cost of each mistake from his fulfillment vendor was approximately $100 to repair, but the cost of not repairing the mistake could mount up to many thousands of dollars in the future.

Ironically, over the past several years, I have spoken to many other authors and speakers about Dr. Dyer’s policy, and many of them were already aware of it as were many corporations and organizations around the world. These inadvertent shipping mistakes turned into reputation builders and marketing opportunities as his solutions to the problems made Dr. Wayne Dyer legendary in the business world.

Some professionals such as surgeons and pilots have mandatory checklists and systems in place to avoid or immediately identify mistakes because an error in their world can be literally life and death. You and I need to build similar systems because there are few things in this world more important than our word, integrity, and reputation.

As you go through your day today, avoid the mistakes you can, and fix the others.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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