December 4, 2013

Typos Tell a Deeper Story

If you don't think spelling mistakes matter, consider this:

photo: CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The headline was: "Kathleen Wynne’s ‘open government’ launch marred by spelling mistake."

So, while she was talking about important stuff, eyes were on the spelling error, mouths were snickering, and fingers were tweeting. Her message was lost in the distraction.

Do you think someone got reprimanded or even fired over this mistake? Who goofed?

Was it the person who requisitioned the sign? The person who ordered the sign? The person who approved the proof? The person at the printer who processed the order? The person who printed it? The person who packaged and shipped it? The person who received and unwrapped it? The person who placed it on the podium? The camera and sound crew who set up and tested, looking right at it? Kathleen herself as she walked to the podium?

This wasn't just one person's mistake. There were a lot of people going through the motions and not using their brains. This is a sign of complacency. Of not caring. And of, dare I say, stupidity.

Spell checker doesn't work everywhere and our reliance on electronic tools is making us lazy. As business owners, we need to surround ourselves with people who care about doing a good job, even if it means pointing out someone else's mistake.


originally published in Work Better, Not Harder, December 4, 2013

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