A Getting It Wrong Plan

I came across a pony-tailed biker-type guy with a long scruffy beard in a cigar shop. He was a retired union pipefitter that had traveled the country welding pipes in nuclear power plants.


Brent taught me the secret of being a successful welder.

  1. You can’t make a perfect weld.
  2. Stop welding when things start going wrong.
  3. Figure out how to make it right.

The secret to long-term success:

Success depends on fixing small mistakes. The hard part is stopping.

Some give up if they can’t get it right the first time. If that’s you, you won’t go far.

Others just plow forward when things start going wrong. That makes matters worse.

A getting it wrong plan:

  1. Tell yourself and your team that you won’t always get it right, but that you’ll always make it right.
  2. Working harder makes things worse when you’re doing something wrong.
  3. Stop and raise your hand when you make responsible mistakes.
  4. Apologize when you hurt others even though you didn’t intentionally screw up.
  5. Ask, “What are we learning?” when something goes haywire.
  6. Create a new approach based on new learnings.
  7. Adapt quickly. Meet in two days, not two weeks, to evaluate your new approach.
    • What did we try?
    • How did it work?
    • What are we learning?
    • What are we going to try next?

It’s better to fix lots of small mistakes than to expect perfection. 

Learn and adapt or bad will get worse.

The beard:

It turned out that my new friend isn’t a biker. He pulled out a picture of his clean-cut self and said, “I grew the beard to play Santa for my granddaughters.”

He reminded me that, “People don’t buy what you do, They buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

What might be on your “Getting it Wrong Plan”?