Academic journal article et Cetera

Do It Right the First Time: A Short Guide to Learning from Your Most Memorable Errors, Mistakes and Blunders

Academic journal article et Cetera

Do It Right the First Time: A Short Guide to Learning from Your Most Memorable Errors, Mistakes and Blunders

Article excerpt

Gerard I. Nierenberg. Do it Right the First Time: A Short Guide to Learning from Your Most Memorable Errors, Mistakes and Blunders. New York: Wiley, 1996.

Gerard I. Nierenberg, whom Forbes magazine has called "The Father of Negotiating Training" is the author of over 20 books and a well-known popularizer of general semantics. In his latest book he shows us how we can reduce the number of errors we make - personally and professionally.

The author claims that 30 to 40 percent of all workers' and executives time is spent preventing, participating, correcting and handling errors. Imagine how much of our gross national product could be increased by eliminating needless errors. Nierenberg says maybe half. He tells us, for example, that 99 percent of hospital bills contain mistakes. How about this excerpt on business error:

In December 1994, J. Gary Burkhead, the president of Fidelity Investments, wrote a letter of apology to his investors informing them of a huge error in accounting all due to a simple clerical inaccuracy. In his words, "The error occurred when the accountant omitted the minus sign on a net capital loss of $1.3 billion and incorrectly treated it as a net capital gain, on this separate spread-sheet. This means that the dividend estimate spreadsheet was off by $2.6 billion." Ouch!

Burkhead went on to explain how such an error could have happened in this age of technology. "While many of our processes are computerized," he wrote, "the requirements of the tax code are complex and dictate that some steps be handled manually by our tax managers and accountants, and people can sometimes make mistakes. …

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