Quick Lessons from Unfortunate Signs


Today’s quick lesson comes to you from the sign you see above, which I spotted on a recent weekend get-away. I’m sure it didn’t take you long to spot the mistake, did it?

That’s right. It’s not a “collard shirt” like collard greens, the delicious veggie dish enjoyed in many a southern restaurant. It’s collared shirt, as in, my shirt has a collar so I look more professional.

This sign, on the other hand, does not look professional.

Everybody makes typos (myself included), but my hunch is that this isn’t a meer typo. If it were a typo, my presumption is that it would have been fixed by now since this sign was just printed on a piece of regular paper and hasn’t been laminated or anything.

So there are a few lessons to be derived from this sign, the most basic among them being, edit your work and get someone else to edit your work, too.

On a larger business scale, don’t do things poorly or half way. You don’t look professional and people don’t want to do business with you. Perhaps you recall my white board story about the company that wanted to move across the country and be operational again in a weekend. When someone isn’t “editing” your work, you end up with sloppy results, like error-filled signs and factories that don’t run properly. Neither gives other people the confidence to do business with you.

A shoddy sign implies shoddy workmanship for your products which implies shoddy management. That may not be the reality – you might be a great manager – but that doesn’t keep the public from feeling that way about you when you put things into the public sphere that are riddled with errors.

Don’t do half-baked work. It undermines your credibility and public perception.

Have you ever gone half-in and looked unprofessional? What would you have done differently?



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