Fans of the Oscars watched the most bizarre ending in the 89-year history of the event. In the last, biggest, most anticipated category, the wrong winner was announced.
The jubilant members of “La La Land” were in the middle of their celebratory speeches when representatives from the auditing PricewaterhouseCoopers halted the proceedings and announced “Moonlight” was the actual winner.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has been responsible for tabulating results and monitoring the awards for 83 straight years. PwC built its reputation around accuracy and today the screwup is a global crisis.
Most companies and most employees will at some point go through a similar situation. It may not trend on Twitter and be the subject of every morning talk show, but it could be a career-ender or company-crusher if not handled correctly.
Here are some tips to save face and begin rebuilding your reputation:
1) Analyze quickly why or how it happened. Was it a mistake or lack of understanding or even office politics. Sabotage does happen. If it truly was your mistake, take time to develop a recovery strategy. Seek advice from peers and mentors about what to say and how to say it.
2) Apologize and move on. Saying sorry multiple times does not help the situation, it just undermines your credibility.
3) Present the solution. Show that you have learned from the experience and how it will be avoided in the future. Give your supervisor two or three options on how to proceed so they feel in control of the situation.
4) Get feedback. This shows you are invested in the success of the organization, your personal growth and shows that you can accept blame.
5) Earn back trust through actions. Consistently deliver great work and the big mistake will be quickly forgotten.