Automation provides many opportunities for inattention errors. Extemporaneous writing/typing is particularly prone to errors so egregious that they are funny… in retrospect. Here are a few examples of “scary” autocorrect mistakes as well as other problems caused by limited or spit [sorry, that was “split”] attention on the task of communication.
1. Everyone fails sometimes
It is easy to fail when we are in a hurry, or are under pressure, or don’t proofread our work before it goes out.
Some fails are the result of trying to be too clever and not getting a second opinion.
Some fails are due to lack of process — a second pair of eyes on the copy would have noticed the “extra word” problem.
Some fails are easily caught via a spellchecker…
But in some cases, a spellchecker does help…
And in many cases, spellcheck is the CAUSE of strange communications. I had a few of those myself…
2. Errors are different from mistakes
Mistakes are things that we know are wrong the moment we notice them — the head-slappers! They are usually caused by inattention on the task.
Errors are different. Errors result from true ignorance.
But it doesn’t make the resulting fails less funny.
3. Strategies that minimize mistakes are different from those that minimize errors
We can minimize mistakes by taking extra care with our work. Simple check lists and procedures can save a lot of problems and unnecessary embracement.
We can minimize true errors via education and team work.
oh, and everyone fails eventually…
Once an email is gone out, it is very hard to take back. A simple check list could prevent 90% of the problems (did I mention check lists already?), reducing tensions and unnecessary emotional and professional upheavals (not to mention those ugly black stripes).