Leap Year Lesson #34: Four Eyes Are Better Than Two

Posted: February 3, 2012 in Collaboration
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I’m usually very careful about proofing what I write before publishing it. While only a few dozen people read this blog daily, the pressure to be accurate is just the same for me as when I prepare an email weekly for nearly 18,000 people.

Last week my manager and I had a discussion about the important of proofing content before it is published. I assured him I’m very careful about it. And then, you can guess what happened. Two days ago I published something on our corporate Facebook page with a typo. I had read it several times. I had gone through our internal process of sending it to others to review and approve and everyone did, even though the typo was in what they saw as well.

It was an easy typo to miss. Instead of typing “heart” I typed “hearth.” The mind sees what it expects to see in reading and not always what is actually there. The good news is that I noticed the error, deleted the post and replaced it with a correct one a few hours later before too many had the chance to see it (except my eagle-eyed manager who did see it).

I had the opportunity to be on the other side of a similar issue today when I was informed about a problem with a public post on someone else’s Facebook page. But when I went there what struck me was not the issue brought to my attention, but a much more significant problem that others involved hadn’t noticed. We passed on the info so they could address it.

The point of the two incidents is that we improve our chances of greater success and fewer errors if we have another person check our work. A fresh pair of eyes often sees something the original eyes do not. This works in the printed word, in physical labor, in plans for the future and reports of the past. That’s a good thing, though potentially humbling and even embarrassing.

Be grateful for that other pair of eyes who can help you do better quality work. Leap year lesson #34 is Four eyes are better than two.

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