My Favorite Mistake of 2012

Sometimes I’m afraid to share my professional mistakes.  It’s hard to tell a client or a prospect that something went wrong or that your decision was the wrong one.

However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that admitting mistakes can be actually be freeing.  Yes, you do open yourself up to negative feedback.  But you also demonstrate that you are an honest, accountable and human professional.  If your work is solid in general, most clients will still see and appreciate your “bigger picture.”

Most mistakes you’ll make will require self criticism, courage and hard work to fix.  Those mistakes help you grow as a person and a professional, and you tend to remember them years after you make them.

Then there are the fun mistakes that make you giggle.  They remind you that, in most cases, lives are not on the line in our profession.  My favorite mistake this year falls into the giggling category.

When we built our new website, we wanted to prioritize our professional team biographies.  We are truly proud of the smart, warm and unique folks that work here, and we wanted to show them off. So we built a bio section that was much more than just a set of resumes.

Instead, when you click on one of our names, you’ll be treated to a video about that person, some snapshots of them with a favorite object and a handwritten sheet that explores their silly side, from their go-to karaoke song to their favorite movie candy (“American Girl” by Tom Petty and Twizzlers for me.) You can see my bio page here or check out my partner Meg’s here.

It’s a bit of a risk, because when you share publicly information about your employees, you make it very easy for recruiters to find them. But we went ahead with our approach, since we believe it’s ultimately up to us to convince our employees to stick around.

At the end of the day, we had some great videos…and a pretty funny blooper reel of mistakes and outtakes. But we weren’t sure what to do with the bloopers, especially since there was some, ahem, colorful language in them.  They didn’t really belong on our website, but they made us laugh and they even shed a little light on why our team has such good chemistry.

Then my colleague Nathan came up with a nice solution. Why not have the reel appear on our “404 page,” when someone accidentally gets a broken link on our site?

Now, you’ll see the blooper reel when you find one of our mistakes.  It’s our little way of acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes. I hope you enjoy this one – you can view it here.

What was the last mistake you made? What did you learn from it?

Connect with Elizabeth:

Phone: 212.840.0017


Twitter: @elizabethsosnow

LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow