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Embracing Failure In The Best Way

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While Todd Jamison exercised in the gym, his parked car was getting a work out too. The only difference: Todd chose to lift weights. His car had no choice.

In a YouTube video, the astonishing view of the hit and run accident in the parking lot of an Xtreme Fitness in Ontario was captured on surveillance camera. Here is the direct link.

As we have covered on many occasions, whether preventable or not, mistakes happen. The key to overcoming the aftermath—and walking away with positive improvement—is to embrace the failure and use it as an advantage. Unfortunately for the female driver of the BMW X5, who panicked and fled the scene, her failure turned sour. (She was ultimately identified and charged with fleeing the scene of an accident.) For Hyundai on the other hand, the accident presented a unique and golden opportunity for a sensational marketing campaign.


© Flickr user nasa_goddard

The car was one that Todd had just finished paying paying off the month before. An article written by The Star details what Hyundai ultimately decided to do.

Todd Jamison planned to take the day off to shop for a used vehicle a week after a driver trashed his 2004 Hyundai Elantra, which he had just finished paying off.
But when colleagues called him into the office on a pretense, he found a shiny 2010 Hyundai Elantra in the lot along with a smiling Hyundai representative.
“She gives me the car,” Jamison said in a phone interview. “I am just in shock. I say, ‘Thank you.’ ”

“We wanted to help the guy,” said Hyundai Canada representative Barb Pitblado. “This was our random act of kindness.”

While it was certainly an act of kindness, it wasn’t as pure and selfless of a move as Pitblado may want you to believe. Hyundai knew that with the original video getting so many views, plenty of people would be interested in the follow-up where Hyundai helped out. In an industry currently weighed down with recalls, bankruptcies, and slower sales, the car company’s tagline at the end of the video, “Because at Hyundai, we like a story with a happy ending,” conveys three clear messages. First, Hyundai is a company that consumers can depend on. Second, they value their customers. Third, regardless of fault, they can be trusted to right the wrong.

While what happened isn’t Hyundai’s fault, they knew that the simple act of giving a man a new car would be viewed as a huge act of kindness in the media. And they’re right! While the $20,000 or so it took to get Todd a new car may not be a big deal to Hyundai, it’s likely a very big deal to Todd. He went from a horrible situation to a great one, all thanks to someone stepping in to fix a failure.

While this wasn’t a failure on the part of Hyundai, their actions can be inspiring when it comes to your own errors. If you or someone in your organization does something wrong, don’t think that that all is lost. Instead, look at the situation from the perspective of someone analyzing an opportunity. Within every set of failures, some silver lining can be found, and with the right attitude, good can always come from the situation.

The moral to this story? Seize opportunities when they come your way. Don’t deny failure or pretend it never happens. Instead, accept errors for what they are. They may just lead you down a more creative, lucrative path. For more information on ways to make the most of failure, contact our business process improvement consultants today!

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