Thursday, March 9, 2017

Would You Fail Forward?

If you watched the final category at the Oscars on Sunday evening, February 26, 2017, you saw La La Land had won best picture. Many of us shrugged our shoulders, turned off the television and went to bed.  And then all hell broke loose! Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were given the wrong best picture announcement card by the PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) representatives. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz handled the snafu with class and dignity and got it right, Moonlight won best picture.

We immediately went into finger pointing mode. Whom did we blame? At first, the finger pointing went to Beatty and Dunaway. Then the finger pointed at the PwC representatives. Brian Cullinan, PwC representative, who handed Beatty the wrong envelope was distracted backstage using his smartphone. The fingers got pointed at the Oscar's producer, Michael De Luca, for not having better oversight. Finger pointing went to whomever designed the Oscar announcement cards for poor design, layout and typography.

If you are in charge of next year's Oscars, what would you do?

Here is what I know for sure. People make mistakes. Great discoveries are made in pain, suffering and mistakes. I would act with grace. I would give everyone who was involved in the 2017 Oscars a "fail forward card!" 

I'd go back to the 2017 Oscar card announcement designer(s) and have them make the 2018 Oscar announcement cards. You can bet he/she/they will get it right! I predict the 2018 Oscar announcement cards will be the easiest cards to read and understand while on stage in front 33 million viewers and the Dolby Theater audience of 3,400. 

I would not only have PwC continue to oversee the tabulation of the Oscar voting, I would bring back PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz to hand out the announcement cards again in 2018. You can bet they will be on top of their responsibilities and get it right!

I'd bring back the 2017 Oscar producer, Michael De Luca, to produce the 2018 Oscars. I believe he will find the most creative, committed and accountable staff to produce an over-the-top 2018 Oscar program. I'd make sure Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were again co-presenters, if not for best picture, then for another category.

This would be a "Golden Rule" moment to transcend what we believe to be the worst in people to the belief that people can be better than they were when given another opportunity. It is a belief that we grow from mistakes and failures.

Grace is a powerful, healing force. Forgiveness is all about extending grace. Forgiveness is about giving another opportunity to correct and be better. It is the gift we need to extend to ourselves and others. It is the work of the soul, based in humility. Grace and forgiveness check pride and tame it. The finger pointing focuses not on others but the three fingers turned toward us. Forgiveness affirms we are human, and we are worthy of love rather than shame. Aren't we all called to extend this love to others?


Becky R-P said...

Good Morning, Dave-
Yes, yes and YES! I love what you said here. The approach and attitude you advocate are basic to teaching people so that they learn to do things better, rather than shaming them so they learn to be afraid, overly careful, and always to have a scapegoat in their back pocket.

Kaaren said...

You are so right, David. My first inclination would have been to have have done just the opposite. Fire 'em all! Banish them from the OSCARS! Banish them from Moviedom! But then I read your words and realize what a teaching moment this can be. And how powerful the lesson can be.

With some guilt for my thoughts and appreciation for opening my eyes,


Steve McCullough said...


Wow. I wasn't real excited to read this one due to the subject, I'm just not that interested in the Academy Awards. But your post was incredible, probably one of the best you've done. I can't believe you could possibly be getting better, you've already set such a high standard. I really loved this post, thank you.

Kind regards,


Lynn Watts said...

Dr. Carr -

I so remember when you extended this grace to me when I used a foul mouthed word in response to a comment a doctor made during a de-brief. You indeed invited me back to facilitate another group of doctors and I did not want to disappoint and that was also a great learning moment for me about grace - so unbelievable, so un-earn-able, so humbling, SO POWERFUL, SO LOVE GIVING! I love you Dave,


Lynn Watts said...

Dr. Carr
I remember when you extended this same grace to me when I used a foul mouth comment in response to a doctor during a de-brief. You did indeed invite me back to facilitate another group of doctors and that grace was so unbelievable, so un-earn-able, so humbling, so POWERFUL, SO LOVE-ABLE....that I did not want to disappoint.

Love you,

Carrpe Diem! said...

Steve Coats, ILA emailed:

You would be right. Although, the PwC guy was apparently doing selfies with the stars at the time, in violation of the agreement between PwC and the Academy. If that is the case, that would be considered a blameworthy mistake, and there should be some consequences.

Now for a great accountability example, wouldn’t it be fabulous if next year, Brian was there for PwC and would answer all the reporter’s questions with something like, “it was my fault last year. I handed the presenters the wrong envelope.” I can assure you that will not happen again this year.”

Let’s see what the Academy brain trust comes up with.