Washington "Natinals" Error


    D.C. Sports Bog – Nationals Uniform Fail

    OK, Monday = sports day on the Lean Blog, apparently. I'll get it out of my system today and get back to more traditional industries soon…

    This is a pretty systemic error when EVERY player on the Washington Nationals baseball team has their team name misspelled on the front of their uniform (click on the link above for a photo).

    Just now, I heard Tony Kornheiser from ESPN's “Pardon the Interruption” give the typical traditional management response that somebody MUST be fired as a result of this. Somebody must be blamed!!!

    Is it embarrassing? Yes? Should the Nationals figure out what happened and how to prevent it from happening again? Yes. Does firing someone help? Does it undo the problem? It's an egregious error. But what's the proper response?

    How would you handle this? Hire more inspectors to make sure the uniforms are correct before the players take the field? What thoughts do you have here? How would you handle it if you were President of the team?

    Where is the balance between “holding someone accountable” and taking actions that really improve the system?

    For more, visit the outstanding “Uni Watch” blog, which among other things, documents other examples of errors like this (usually an individual player, not the whole team).

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. What’s going on? This is second case in a month in which I’ve discovered employees aren’t able to spell their employers’ name. (A marketing professor from Northwestern misspelled the university’s name on the title page of his presentation.)

      My rule of thumb has always been that the larger the type the more difficult it is to spot the spelling error. So it’s important to have someone checking.

      But to fire anyone? I don’t think so. This is embarrassing, but it’s not hurting anyone or anything. You just make sure it doesn’t happen again.


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