My husband was living in Minnesota seeking a job as I stayed behind with our three children, ages 1, 4, and 6. It was a gorgeous Arizona day (as always) and I "had me a cravin' for some bourbon chicken." Yum.
Now, going out in public with three active kids 6 and under proves to be a challenge on the best of days, but I was determined to have bourbon chicken in my future. I loaded up the kiddos, a freshly diapered 15-month old, noses clean and all presentable. As we drove to the restaurant, I did my usual speech about behavior and manners, of which the children all happily agreed. They loved going out to eat. TGI Friday's had umbrellas for the drinks, which always made for a special occasion. Oh, it turned out special all right.
After a wonderful meal, we topped it off by ordering dessert, a chocolate mudslide large enough to feed us all. I entertained the kids with silly songs and "I spy with my little eye" when our trip to TGI Friday's took a nasty little turn.
My little one looked at me so sweetly and squirmed in his seat. His arm was back behind and I leaned forward to help him look for his binky that he must have dropped. At this point, he brought his hand around and "proud-as-punch" gifted me a giant handful of steamy crap. Yes, warm, steamy, rank... poop.
I was stunned. Here we are, in a nice restaurant with cloth napkins, other folks sitting nearby, having just eaten a full meal, and my 2 older children too young to leave at the table alone. If I take all to the restroom to get him cleaned up, they will think I walked the check. If I leave them, I am a horrible parent. I wanted to be as discreet and quick as possible. The 6-year-old thought it was hysterical, my 15-month-old obviously thought he gifted me a fabulous, funny gift, and the 4-year-old daughter dramatically feigned indignant shock and disgust about the entire situation.
I had no choice. I wrapped his little hand in the red cloth napkin and commanded the other two to follow. I grabbed my purse and needed items for the change but left the diaper bag to let them know that I was coming back. Embarrassed and frantic, we rushed to the bathroom and got my tiny-stinker cleaned up and redressed. On return to the table, the waitress, laughingly, let us know that the neighboring table had informed her of the situation and that all was good (I guess we weren't so discreet after all!). To this day I relive the upset when sharing this story and how I was so incredibly mortified. To this day, my now 15-year-old big-stinker, still thinks it is hysterical. Go figure.
Why do I share this personal story in a business blog?
Because occasionally in business, as in life, we are presented with a handful of crap. A loud and disgruntled client, a bad batch of product, a politically incorrect misspeak; any public failure can be just as mortifying as being handed a fist-full of poo in public. We are convinced that everyone is watching and judging. Our reputation is ruined. We can never recover. Or can we?
How we handle business drama is determined by the values we embody in our business. Our brand promise and reputation, if solidly built and maintained provide stability. Strong client relationships offer forgiveness. Managing the failure with honor, class, humility, and doing the very best you can to make it right, can save face as well as clients in the midst of what could be a terrible hit to your business. What can you do now to prep your brand? What process do you have in place to deflect the negativity? Are your relationships poo-proof? Life isn't always roses and lollipops, crap happens. Are you ready?
©Neon Lizard Creative 2021 | Rebecca Rausch | neonlizardcreative.com | 952.452.0168