Learning From Mistakes
By Cathy Markowitz
Thomas Edison is reported to have tried more than two thousand different
materials in his search of a filament for the light bulb. When none
worked satisfactorily, his assistant was said to have complained that
all of their efforts had been in vain. Edison's famous reply was: "Oh,
we have come a long way, and we have learned a lot. We now that there
are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a working light
Everyone makes mistakes. Errors happen in business every day. When a mistake
is made in the credit department, the credit manager should make sure something
positive comes from the experience. To do so, he or she should:
- Address the problem and try to mitigate the impact [the impact
on the bottom line, on customer goodwill, on the relationship between
credit and sales, etc.]
- Determine the root cause and address that underlying problem.
- Figure out how to prevent the problem from happening again.
- Decide if any policies, procedures, or processes should be changed.
- If the error created a problem for a customer, follow up to make
sure the customer has been contacted, the problem resolved and that
the customer is satisfied with the timeliness of the response and
the solution provided.
The most important thing of all to remember about mistakes is the
fact that the worst and most costly mistakes are mistakes that are
made over and over again. The moral of the story is this: Make it a
point to learn from your mistakes.
Cathy Markowitz is...
Reprinted with permission from the ©2002 Covering
Credit Newsletter 10/01/02 Edition.
All Rights Reserved