Especially in the Workplace, Everyone Deserves to Get a Second Chance

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Tonight night (Oct. 2), Adam Greenberg will get the ultimate second chance.

Back on July 9, 2005, Adam came to home plate for the first time as a member of the Chicago Cubs. Valerio de los Santos pitched for the Florida (now Miami) Marlins and hit Greenberg in the back of the helmet with the pitch. Adam’s helmet flew off and he fell to the ground.

That one brief moment was all Adam Greenberg had as a Major League Baseball player. He experienced his best moment and worst moment of his short career in a matter of seconds. It’s reminiscent of the character Archie “Moonlight” Graham in Field of Dreams, who has a one-game career in the majors. However in the movie, Archie gets a second chance to make it back to the big leagues.

Well, life can imitate art.

Getting a second chance

Enter Matt Liston, an avid baseball fan and documentary film maker, who initiated a campaign to give Adam his second chance at batting in the Major Leagues – check out the campaign for him at OneAtBat.com. Since 2005, Adam Greenberg spent the past several years playing in the minor leagues as well as independent leagues, and while he isn’t expecting to get an offer from the majors, he would LOVE a second chance to be up to bat one more time in a big league game.

Well, the big campaign worked and last week David Sampson, president of the Miami Marlins, offered Adam a one-day contract to play for the team and get that second chance against the New York Mets. It’s a dream come true!

This inspirational story got me thinking about second chances. Have you ever had one? Have you ever given someone a second chance?

In business and life in general, the drive for perfection and the desire to be the best can be all-consuming. I’m all for having goals and doing your best, but let’s face it, we are human and humans make mistakes. We are not perfect and never will be.

Undesirable behaviors

I’ve worked in environments where making mistakes was not acceptable and it drives behaviors that are undesirable and damaging. Behaviors like:

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  • Never admitting fault;
  • Pointing the finger and placing blame on others;
  • Never taking a risk – playing it safe with the status quo;
  • Never identifying a training need or an area for professional development;
  • Stifling creativity;
  • A reluctance to truly delegate responsibility with authority.

All of which makes for a dreadful workplace, and the best and brightest won’t stand for it.

Making the most from mistakes

The way in which a leader sets a challenging, productive and fun — yes, FUN — tone in the workplace has a lot to do with how you deal with mistakes. Here are a few ideas about how to make the most from the mistakes you and your team WILL make:

  • Use them as learning moments – talk about what happened and ask questions to help the employee/team discover what went wrong and what could be done differently next time.
  • Determine if you need to provide more structure by having regular status/check-in meetings so you can coach along the way as needed.
  • Admit your own mistakes and model behaviors that make it safe for others to admit mistakes and work the path to correct the mistake.
  • Finally, offer grace and forgiveness.

Second chances offer redemption and hope. There is an opportunity to do better, and, to be better.

Let’s face it — a little redemption, hope, and opportunity in our lives make for a magical combination for the human spirit!

This was originally published on PeopleResult’s Current blog.

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4 Comments on “Especially in the Workplace, Everyone Deserves to Get a Second Chance

  1. Love this post, Martha. I saw Adam interviewed on The Today Show and was struck by his grace & hopefulness – wasn’t bitter or angry. And, he could have been given that his dream ended on his first at bat in the big leagues. An amazing guy & story. Clearly something we can all learn from – thanks for calling that out.

  2. Great insight Martha – making the most of mistakes made is the only way to learn and feel safe to move on.

  3. I have seen one unfortunate moment ruin many careers. It’s mostly luck if your unfortunate moments don’t occur in front of a huge audience. We could all do better by being more forgiving.

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