Preface: My friend Bingham rose to the challenge of being the first guest blogger to The Smiling Daffodil’s 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles. Bing—though you’ve never taken the Dale Carnegie course—as long as I’ve known you—you live the principles. I remember kicking and screaming all the way to the first Dale Carnegie class— but you calmly explained a bigger picture perspective that I might actually benefit from the course.
Thank you for your example of living, for your encouragement and for stepping up to my challenge! – The Smiling Daffodil
Let’s get this out of the way…. Yes, I’m an idiot
I haven’t made a mistake of this magnitude since 1992. You see—I was in the middle of making a software update to the server—and a well intentioned co-worker came in and interrupted me. I answered the co-worker’s question—it wasn’t a complicated question—it was just one of those nagging interruptions that is standard operating procedure in my world.
But this day was different. I pressed a button during the software update—and quickly realized the outcome wasn’t what I wanted. Don’t ask me how I could have pressed “Yes—delete the entire database” but I did. My heart sank to my stomach.
Imagine deleting your entire life’s work with a careless click of a button.
I quickly went into recovery mode. I called Jeff—he works for the company that hosts our servers and began with, “Jeff, let’s get this out of the way—yes—I’m an idiot. I deleted the entire database. Now let’s move on to quickly finding a solution. Once we do this we can return to making jokes about my carelessness. When was the last backup you made to our server?”
Jeff, was taken aback by the magnitude of my error and how I fell on my sword quickly and asked for help to fix the problem.
A half hour later—everything was up and running again. No one but me and Jeff noticed that the database we rely on for business vanished into thin air—not through the hands of some inexperienced employee – but by someone very qualified who should have known better.
The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 12. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
What is the problem? What are the causes of the problem? What are the possible solutions? What is the best possible solution?
Remember, everyone makes mistakes—and sometimes these mistakes have serious consequences. Rather than react emotionally by crying or going into fits of rage or panic—act swiftly with reason. Get all the facts and determine the best possible solution. When you do this—you not only solve the problem effectively—you demonstrate levelheadedness despite the stress and pressure filled circumstance.