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"It's Okay To Screw Up" Open Letter To My Employees.

By Dr. Darla Shaw, SPHR, MBA, MLS, PhD.


I once sent an open letter/email to all my employees. I saved it and chose to share it again, because - as my doctoral research indicates - work cultures suck and they need to change.


"Hey everyone!


So I touched on this briefly during our call, but for those of you who weren’t on it, I wanted to chat with you about our culture, and the baggage we’re all bringing into it.

I don’t know about you, but I have worked for some really crap companies. I am talking about those micromanage-y, everyone-is-to-blame-but-me, trample-on-my-employees, greedy-corporate culture companies that made you afraid to EVER admit to two things:


  1. I screwed up

  2. I need help


Doing either of these in those corporate culture environments would mean you lost the respect of your peers, your managers, or worse, could even get you fired. I am talking about honest human error that was done out of pure ignorance, not incompetence!


I know many of us have these experiences. I know all of us want to be seen as nothing less than capable, competent “rock stars” ALL THE TIME!


But the truth is, that isn’t realistic.

WE ARE ALL GOING TO SCREW UP!

We are Human.

WE ARE ALL GOING TO NEED TO ASK FOR HELP!

We are Human.


If it wasn’t for [Name] proof-reading everything I write practically, I can promise we would have a lot of misspelled ads and website pages.


So I want everyone to take a deep breath and just… relax.


I’m not saying we don’t have standards. Obviously we do! We have goals and processes that we want/need people to follow, and no, if you’re lazy and don’t do your job, yes, we will have a conversation.


But that’s not the same thing as raising your hand and saying: “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t do this without more resources. I need help!”


It’s okay to say that.

It’s also okay to say, “Whoops! That was totally my bad. I’m so sorry! Now I know. Won't happen again.”


No one is going to shoot you for that. In fact, we want you to come to us when you need help! We want you to tell us when something goes wrong so we can help you fix it!


This is a learning experience for all of us.


So I just want you to know it’s okay. You’re not longer in that abusive, demeaning, stressful, micromanaging work culture that made you go home every night anxious and fearful!


We need to break down that old culture and leave that at the door. The only way we’ll succeed is if we help each other.


So please… if you need help…. ask.


If you need more resources… ask!


If you screw up and are afraid to tell us…. don’t be." #workculture #businessculture #employeesmatter



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