Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Error by Omission

I'm convinced that the largest problems in our professional - and perhaps in our personal - lives come from the actions we don't take (errors by omission) and not from the ones we do (errors by commission). Some examples of harmful omissions in the workplace are:

  • Failure to confront a employee who has a performance problem;

  • Failure to set clear goals;

  • Failure to discuss changed priorities;

  • Failure to double-check work;

  • Failure to coordinate projects;

  • Failure to acknowledge good performance; and

  • Failure to create systematic ways of performing frequent responsibilities.

We omit these responsibilities in large part because we are busy and because our failure doesn't require immediate attention. (If it seized us by the throat we would probably be more attentive.) In many instances, however, error by omission evokes a sense of unease that paces in the back of our mind.

Part of our weekly review should include an Unease Analysis; i.e., a listing of what is troubling us. In most cases, it won't be something we've done. It will be a gap in action.


Paul Williams said...

This is keen insight. I've been guilty of some of these omissions in the past, and the omissions have harmed the projects.

I have some more to say about this concept and leadership too.

But Seriously Folks... said...


I suffer from that list in my own professional life.

Thanks for articulating it. DF

Michael Wade said...

Thanks for your comments. I think all of us need to explore the errors of omission in our lives.

sweetperceptions said...

Great! I've been guilty of some of the listed items in the past. Love your blog. =)

Josephat said...

i feel this is not enough,I HAVE MUCH TO COMMENT ON THIS TOPIC

Josephat said...

this blog has left me hanging