Making the Buck Stop Where it Should--The Power of Taking Responsibility for Errors and Moving forward

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Excuses are for losers. That is what my dear old dad used to say, and I am more convinced that it is as accurate today as it was 45 years ago when he was alive.

In the cpurse of my practice as a Massachusetts real estate attorney, there have been many occasions where I gave incorrect, or incomplete, advice. I alwasy try to give the correct answer, but no one bats !,000, and sometimes I was wrong. In the early stages of my career, I tried to rationalize, or explain, my erros rather than accepting them for what they were, good faith erros.

Lately, my approach has been much different and to be perfectly honest with you, I no longer fear making mistakes because oft times, fixing a mistake can garner a better overall result for me than if the mistake had not oiccurred. Let me give you an exapmle. Suppose a closing is achedulued for 2:00 PM in a realtor's office, and I show up at 2:30 PM. I could complain about the traffic, or the Lender being late, or any number of reasons why I had inconvenienced people. Or I could apologize, accept the consequences, and tell all involved that I am prepared to give the Buyer a monetary closing cost payment to mitigate the time that I wasted for others. Very rarely does the Buyer accept the money. The important thing is that I acknowledged that people have busy schedules, and they cannot sit around and waiit for me to show up at a closing. I take responsibility for my actions; perople generally move on.

This is the way I conduct business these days, and it is a lot less complicatesd than it was before. Mistales happen; it is the way we respond that sets us apart from the crowd.


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Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-966-3200 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Elliot:


Good post and good to see you active as a rainmaker.  We have relocated to Texas and now a Texas Broker.  Will fill you in on old property in a different venue.

Aug 04, 2010 11:45 AM #1
Vicki Pedersen
Pedersen Real Estate - Riverside, CA
Providing Exceptional Real Estate Service

I totally agree with your post.  I learned a very good lesson many years ago when I made a big mistake and acknowledged my mistake and apologized to my boss.  He was so taken back by this - he was not used to anyone acccepting responsibility.  It was a great learning experience for me. It is so important to admit when we accept responsibility for our mistakes. 

Aug 04, 2010 11:51 AM #2
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Elliott - That is a great attitude.  If our society weren't so blame-happy (and litigious) it would make life better.

Aug 04, 2010 12:11 PM #3
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

I had a boss many decades ago who loved excuses. You'd be late to a meeting, and he'd ask you why you were late. Didn't matter what your answer was. His response was "That's just an excuse."

Aug 05, 2010 03:05 AM #4
Andrea Swiedler
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Elliott, what a wonderful attitude! This post is quite timely, I have been thinking about excuses lately, why we make them, why we can't just say I am sorry. Mistakes happen, oversights, we sometimes cannot, no matter how hard we try, arrive on time. Often things are out of our control yet we often try to take control.

Do your best, simplify, take credit for wins and losses, what a great attitude! No one is perfect after all. But yet we all struggle to appear perfect. Interesting, isn't it?

Aug 08, 2010 02:36 AM #5
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Elliott S. Topkins

Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty
I need a Massachusetts real estate attorney
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