Can I Have a Retake?

A house across the street from where we live was selected by a production company to be the home of a major character in an HBO series being filmed in Charleston, SC. Aside from the inconveniences of large trucks lined up on the street, dozens of crew members blocking any access to our driveway, and the huge crane parked in front of our house, we have had the opportunity to watch several outside scenes being filmed. We were able to stand right behind the director and watch the scene unfold and view the numerous screens showing what was being recorded from several angles. What amazed me is how many takes are required to get one little aspect of a scene completed to satisfy the director. For example, one scene required someone to punch the major actor in an altercation between neighbors. One little punch! We watched while it took at least 2 dozen takes to get it right. We watched lines being flubbed and retake after retake to get it right. We watched a scene where one actor stretches his foot across an invisible “line in the sand” that caused the altercation. That scene was filmed at least 20 times from different angles.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not taking anything away from talented actors we watch on the big screen or television. My main point is how wonderful it would be if I was able to have a retake in different areas of my life. I can think of numerous times during the 30+ years I have been married to my wonderful wife where a retake would have been very welcome. Or that moment when I did not say exactly what I wanted to one of my children in the heat of the moment. Or that missed layup at the buzzer in high school when we lost by 1 point. Fortunately I do not require a retake for that inappropriate joke to the TSA agent while going through security.

If I could market retakes to the business world, I would not be able to find a bank large enough to handle the deposits. Just in my little world of working with companies in talent management, I could fill chapters of a book on examples where a retake would have lessened or eliminated the pain.

Since a retake in most situations is not possible, it is even more imperative to do it right the first time. It is especially important to foster an environment within any business where a retake is not necessary. Increased and improved employee engagement hangs on those first chance opportunities and moments. How many great employees have left a company because of something that was said by a manager or a business decision that was made too quickly in response to something else? How many problems have we caused because we did not think before we spoke?

I would like to propose a simple list of actions that can be taken on a daily basis that will enhance the employee experience without the need for a retake.

Be Credible-Always do what you say you will do. If you do not, try and explain why.

Be Trustworthy-This is a hard one (it should not be), but tell the truth, even if it is painful to you.

Be Respectful-Always treat others the way you would want to be treated. Or, to really challenge yourself, always treat others the way you treat your mother and grandmother.

Be Consistent-Handle each situation in a similar fashion and do not play favorites.

Be Considerate-It does not take a lot of effort to put oneself in another’s shoes and show a little empathy.

Be Positive-Be that person who sees the good first in all situations.

Be Supportive-Provide the resources necessary for all to succeed and remove the obstacles that prevent expected performance.

Be Appreciative-It does not take a whole lot of effort to say “thank you” or to provide feedback on someone’s work in a constructive way.

Be Humble-Let employees know that you can identify with them. Have you made the same mistake before? Have you been in a similar situation? Being vulnerable is difficult, but extremely powerful.

The list could be a lot longer, but the actions listed, if done sincerely, will have a positive impact on morale, engagement, retention, and employee happiness in the workplace and with the company. And, as Abraham Lincoln said in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; “Be excellent to each other.” I wonder how many takes that took?

To Your Success,

Richard Davis, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
McClain Group, LLC
Twitter: @PIPability


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