Major Z. used to always mention what he called the doctrine of unrecoverable error.
The doctrine states as follows: Some errors are so irreversible and of such consequence that once you set the course of action in motion, it leads to an unstoppable 100% bad result.
1. Some errors are de minimus. Even though the error is bad and unreversible, the consequences are minor.
Example: You run a stop sign, you don’t hit anyone and the cops don’t see you.
2. Some errors are bad but there is a solution that at least allows you to repair or halt some of the damage.
You do something horrible and lose your job, but you bounce back, rebuild your reputation and find another job. Think Richard M. Nixon.
3. Some errors are both irreparable and of major consequence. Hence unrecoverable, irreversible and of major consequence.
You leap off a 1,000 foot cliff while base jumping, but you forgot your parachute. Think of Steve Fossett’s plane trip.
Why do we care?
- Because if an error is of major consequence and you can repair some of the damage, then you have a chance to do so. Don’t give up and accept disaster, fix what you can and move on.
- If an error is of no consequence, then forget about it.
- If an error is unrecoverable:
- bend over
- put your head between your legs, and
- kiss your @$$ goodbye!