Have you ever eaten a shit sandwich? I know I have.
This is when something so royally gets messed up, that it literally feels like you are chomping down on a turd between two slices of bread.
Yuck is right.
Sorry to gross you out, but I want to talk about doing what you need to do when you discover there is something wrong.
Some Shit Sandwich Examples
You’ve spent some time digging into the numbers are realize that the work that you are doing for your customer isn’t profitable.
You just spent months trying to find a new employee and they are now on the job. That hooray turns into a nightmare as you discover they don’t know what they are doing and are constantly making mistakes.
You’ve sold something to a customer and promised they could have it by a certain date. That date comes and goes without you delivering on your promise.
Somehow you were distracted by other things and a big no-no was allowed to slip through. Maybe no one will notice. But if they did, there could be dire consequences.
You thought you were entering it correctly. There were directions that you followed. Your calculations add up. Nobody has said anything, but you recently discovered that the numbers and your methodology in using them were wrong.
A new client asks you to “do them a favor” for a job they need to handle. You say yes because you like them and need the business. 43 orders later, they are still taking advantage of that favor pricing you gave them and better turn times.
There Are A Million Of These
Let’s face it.
In this industry there are a million of these types of circumstances that start off as inconsequential issues and then snowball into a gigantic mess.
If you see the truth in this article, that’s ok. We’ve all been there too. Munching down on that shit sandwich together.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
I have news for you kid. You don’t have to eat that big ol’ shit sandwich.
Instead, how about a shit cookie?
Eating a shit cookie still requires you to buck up and take care of business. It still will taste disgusting, but the portion is smaller. That actually is a good thing.
Eating the Shit Cookie
For starters, this means that you are going to have to face your fear and speak up earlier. Let’s look at our examples again.
Here, when we find out that the work we’re doing isn’t profitable there has to be an adjustment. This means determining what is fair and going to your customer to have a conversation.
Will there be a chance that they get upset and not work with you? Of course.
However, you are in business to make money. There has to be profit. Any day of the week I’ll take not doing the work and using that time to create another opportunity over keeping the status quo and working for free or losing money.
Do your research. Face your fears. Talk to the customer. Work it out.
I’ve worked with or managed hundreds and hundreds of employees in my career.
Those bad apples in the group rarely ever turn into something better.
Of course, give people the opportunity to learn. Make sure they are trained. Work with them. Talk to them.
But, there needs to be a point where you have to go with another direction and find someone capable of achieving the work level for the position.
Otherwise you are letting the rest of the team and the company down.
There is nothing worse that a salesperson’s broken promise. It is so hard to come back from that if your customer is frustrated and angry.
Worse, is when you keep exacerbating the situation by making new promises and not fulfilling those.
Come clean. Admit your mistake. Give accurate and relevant information. Be humble. Customers expect and demand the truth. Even if it hurts, that is what you should give them.
There is nothing worse than a stupid mistake. Except of course, a cover up of a stupid mistake. Oof.
When you try to weasel out of something because you didn’t do what you needed to, it only makes things worse in the long run. People aren’t stupid. The truth comes out.
Eat the shit cookie. Admit the problem. And then fix it.
Nobody is perfect. People make math errors all the time. It is very easy to do, which is why you should always double check your math work.
But what if your math is correct, but the situation you used it in was wrong? You’ve mistakenly used the wrong formula or method of calculation. Of course, the final sum checks out. That is the correct part.
Nobody has noticed. Yet.
They always do. Not today. Maybe next year. Or five years down the road.
Better to go back and make your corrections as soon as you can. Even if you get into trouble now. It will only be worse the longer you wait to correct the situation.
Shit cookies always go down easier than shit sandwiches.
Of course you said yes. You like them.
But now they are taking advantage of you and your good nature. Your fear is that if you stop, it will somehow alter your relationship with them.
Hey, it just might.
But on the other hand, maybe they will gain more respect for you if you stick up for yourself and renegotiate what you are doing for them so the partnership is on more equal footing.
Eating that shit cookie can actually get people to stop walking all over you.
Sorry If You Don’t Like the Word Shit
Yes. I know it isn’t a professional word to use. However in this case, I thought it is not only accurate but funny.
If you are offended, I apologize.
By the way, may I offer you a cookie? They are fresh!
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” – John F. Kennedy
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napolean Hill
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