In life, there are those that learn through pain and those that learn through watching others go through pain and as a result choose differently. Which one are you? In my earlier years, I sat squarely in the first category but now, I do everything within my power to ensure, where possible, I sit firmly in the second category. Hindsight is a great teacher indeed!
The thing I love most about business blunders is that we don’t have to go where no man has gone before. We can learn from the Greats and see exactly how not to do certain things to avoid those pitfalls ourselves. Whilst some blunders are more comical than devastating, others have been truly humongous with disastrous consequences.
I have always been interested in problem solving and most of my career has followed this course. I not only enjoy the challenge of finding a solution to a problem but also enjoy the strategic thinking that is part of the process. I have been on teams that tracked hurricanes making life and death decisions whether to evacuate or not, been part of an emergency duty office team handling a bus crash where lives were sadly lost and one of my greatest challenges (mainly due to the language and cultural differences) was assisting an elderly couple who were mugged in China by negotiating with authorities to get them to travel without documentation back home to the U.K. It was a tough problem to solve and not one I could have done in isolation. Life’s like that. It seldom takes one person to resolve a crisis / blunder but it only takes one person’s thoughtless actions or words to create one.
I will never stop learning new ways to approach crisis situations nor will I ever stop growing my skillset in problem solving because as the world changes, so too must we. I remain truly fascinated with the psychology and behaviours of people in crisis situations and the lessons one can learn from each other through it all. In part 2 of this post we will look at the examples of blunders brands have made on social media and the learnings we can take from those to never repeat them ourselves. But just to set the scene, here are a few nuggets to digest if you ever have a brand blunder on your hands: