Can you believe it’s already 2024? Where did the time go? It was just 1964 when the Beatles came to the US for their first tour. I was a teenager back then and like all teenage girls, I was totally entranced with the look, the sound, and the swagger that the Beatles offered my generation. 

Fast forward 60 years, I would have never imagined that I would be the president of CMI Credit Mediators Inc. With the support of so many wonderful people on our team, I am honored to be steering the company into its 48th year of business. It certainly has been a journey that has included many exuberant highs, difficult lows, and lots of changes in between. Through it all, the one thing that I have tried to keep in mind is the importance of how I deal with mistakes. Here are my thoughts as follows:

Learning Opportunities – This is really a big one. Mistakes provide a chance to learn from real-world experiences, gaining insights that a classroom alone cannot provide. Taking a step back and trying to understand the root cause(s) of mistakes can help to focus on improvement and encourage a culture of continuous learning.

Innovation and Creativity – Some of the greatest innovations and breakthroughs in business have come from mistakes or failures. These incidents can lead to creative problem-solving and the development of new, more effective strategies. One of my favorite books is titled: “The Successful Mistake: How 163 of The World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Transform Failure Into Success.” It’s so inspirational to learn how many successful business leaders have turned their mistakes into innovation and creativity. 

Resilience & Perseverance Building – Overcoming mistakes fosters resilience. Of course, we don’t want to be working with constant mistakes and setbacks but grappling and resolving the periodic mistake better equips us to handle future mistakes. As the Japanese proverb goes, “Even when a heavy rain hits the ground, the ground must get harder.” 

Team Building and Collaboration – Mistakes made by one person don’t necessarily have to be corrected by one person. A group effort to correct the mistake can bring people together, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility.

Customer Relations – Yes, mistakes that impact our customers can have a serious impact. The last thing we want to do is to rock the boat with our clients, making them feel that we are not fulfilling their needs. But, when mistakes happen, the first thing we do is apologize. Taking ownership, giving a full-throated unambiguous apology, and showing humility is paramount. Then, after that we can explain what happened. The upshot is that the response to the mistake can improve the level of service and deepen the customer relationship. 

Risk Management – In this day and age of needing to be constantly on the lookout for hacking and other viral attacks, mistakes highlight potential risks and vulnerabilities to a business. I dare to say that at least once, all of us have been deceived by that one email, looking so real and familiar, which ended up stealing our personal information or shutting our computer systems down. Mistakes, perhaps costly ones, can help to identify the weak and vulnerable areas, and encourage companies to develop more robust risk management strategies.

So, in essence my dear readers, it’s essential to approach mistakes with an open mind. Learning from mistakes requires reflection, analysis, and a commitment to making positive changes. Embracing a culture that encourages learning from failures can turn setbacks into steppingstones for long-term success.

Wishing all of you a great year ahead.

Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc. 

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