Christopher Harris, President of Inventure Global, an IT consulting firm based in San Diego, CA, tells the World about his own worst day in business. In brief : Inventure Global was supposed to provide a new startup with the alpha version of their website, but missed the deadline, hence endangering the startup' successful launch. Here's the lesson :
“Some of our most avid customers here were customers that we totally screwed at some point. We went to them and told them we knew that we screwed up, told them we were going to fix it, and told them that whatever it cost them we’d make it right as best we could. We did that, and now they respect us more for it. That’s the way you earn trust is by how you handle yourself when the situation goes against you.”
I've personnaly encountered such a disastrous situation more than once along my 15+ years-long career as an entrepreneur and business developer. Most often, it occured when someone in the team screwed up the whole thing because she simply didn't feel accountable. It was always a "not my fault", "not my business", or "not my whatever"... Hence the mandatory Musketeers' Spirit : "One for All, All for One", which should be the only motto of any team of any sort. Because it makes the people accountable and responsible for every single decision that they take under the team's umbrella (and by extension, the company itself)...
I screwed up a project myself. Back in '83, when I left a fiber optics cable installation work to go home - because my girlfriend was expecting me to be back before night. I did it once. That has been one of the best lessons I've ever got from real life : don't act for yourself, act for the team, no matter the consequences at home. Because at the end of the day, that's your customer who's paying you. Not your girlfriend (otherwise, you're a lucky guy ;-).