Tag Archives: Leadership

Error Autopsy

The authors Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry talk about Error Autopsy in their book  The Method Method. The error autopsy and their MacGyver Award is a great way to improve your business’s customer service, leadership and collaboration. Below is an example from the book.


Perhaps it was inevitable that a guiding principle intended to inspire ingenuity would ultimately become an excuse for cutting corners. But MacGyver taught us that living by your values isn’t always as clear as it sounds and can quickly turn into MacGruber, the Saturday Night Live parody. We started spotting the warning signs early on …

At every Monday’s weekly huddle, team members can nominate any colleague for a values award. In the beginning, praise poured in, the prize wheel pun, and all was well with the world. That is, until we noticed a growing pattern: Someone would get hung up on a project, pull an all-nighter, air-freight the finished product at the last possible second, and barely meet the deadline. “Success!” Afterward, everyone would let out a huge sigh of relief, and the next day the employee would be nominated for a MacGyver award! OK, but …

Examples like this were why What Would MacGyver Do? quickly became our  most common award. People would screw around, pull something out of their ass at the last minute, then sit back and bask in the limelight. As leaders, we had to help our team members to stop MacGyvering on the back end and start doing more work on the front end. MacGyver didn’t merely divert the enemy, defuse the bomb, and devise an escape route, all at the last second. He applied the same assiduous insight from the opening scene through the whole episode. Sure, maybe savvy TV producers made sure all the important plot twists were served up in the last two minutes, but MacGyver wasn’t asleep during the first fifty-eight.

The point is, just because your values are well intentioned doesn’t mean they can’t be manipulated or lead people astray. When that happens (and it will, trust us), it’s up to leadership to step in and set things straight.

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Is It Okay for a Leader to Bend a Rule or Policy? Ever?

I found myself in one of those situations today where something so simple was made way more complicated than it needed to be. I had to take a dreaded trip to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to get my driver’s license renewed. I was relieved and even shocked to find no one else in the entire office except those who were working. As you know, this doesn’t happen very often in the DMV where a half hour or more wait is common. I went to the first counter where one of the workers was standing and she handed me a ticketed number. I looked at the number a little surprised. And then I asked and thought to myself, “is she handing me a number to wait in line? There isn’t a single person in the entire office.” About five seconds after receiving the number I heard a female voice at another counter down the row calling my number telling me it was my turn. I shook my head, chuckled a little and renewed my license.

Now I am sure there is some type of policy the DMV had to follow whether they were helping one person or one hundred. It got me thinking though, and I would like to discuss this, are there times when it is okay for a leader to bend the rules? Or should policy and rules always be adhered to? I have heard people say that the “spririt of the law” should overide the “letter of the law.” What does that mean?

I have always tended to be more of a “letter of the law” type of person. But I wonder, if policy is set by a person, and people aren’t always perfect, should we always abide by sometimes imperfect policies? What kind of impact does not completely following a rule or policy have on those we lead? What does it say about a leader? I am not giving answers, I am asking questions. And I assume we will have some very strong opinions. So let the discussion begin. I look forward to your comments below. Thanks.

via Is It Okay for a Leader to Bend a Rule or Policy? Ever? – Teamwork and Leadership Bloggings.

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